Old favourites set to miss Blues reunion

Ray Crawford with his unique piece of footballing memorabilia. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180196-1)

Striking legend’s labour of love is complete

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Pompey fans are set to miss out on a reunion with some of their old favourites against West Ham.

Matt Taylor, who was such a key figure in Pompey’s promotion to the Premier League back in 2002-03, has been sidelined with a calf injury since the start of December and the 30-year-old is still some way short of fitness.

Also currently out of the picture is French striker Freddie Piquionne

He famously netted Pompey’s FA Cup semi-final opener against Spurs in his one season at Fratton Park.

Carlton Cole, Sam Baldock, John Carew and Freddie Sears have all been preferred to the Frenchman in recent weeks.

And the best he can hope for is a place among the substitutes.

Also expected to be on the bench is another former Blues favourite, Gary O’Neil.

He has recently recovered from a career-threatening ankle injury.

The midfielder was signed by Avram Grant last January from Middlesbrough but was unable to prevent the club’s relegation from the Premier League.

But Papa Bouba Diop – who failed to become a Pompey fans’ favourite despite being part of the 2008 FA Cup-winning side – has been a key part of West Ham’s side since signing from AEK Athens earlier this season.

The Senegalese midfielder has even scored – something he never managed in a competitive Blues game.