Pompey v Leeds United preview

John Utaka
John Utaka
Former Pompey owner Balram Chainrai

On this day: Chainrai poised for dramatic Pompey return

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Pompey are sweating on the fitness of John Utaka ahead of the visit of Leeds tomorrow.

Utaka came off with a hamstring injury against Nottingham Forest last Saturday and hasn’t trained this week.

With Dave Kitson and Aaron Mokoena suspended, that has stretched Steve Cotterill’s squad once again.

Ricardo Rocha has trained and Greg Halford is available again after returning from Wolves on loan.

And Nadir Ciftci is fit to play despite going over on his ankle last Friday.

Cotterill said: ‘We don’t know how the game against Arsenal will affect Leeds. We won’t know until tea-time tomorrow, really.

‘What we do know is they gave Arsenal two very hard games and represented the Championship brilliantly.

‘They have a good squad to call upon and will be able to make changes from the team who started on Wednesday. I’m sure they will do that.

‘The results haven’t been going for us recently but you can’t say anything about the performances, and we want another one against Leeds.’

Former Pompey defender Andy O’Brien will miss tomorrow’s clash at Fratton Park.

The Leeds man picked up a hamstring problem in the midweek FA Cup exit to Arsenal, so Neill Collins will come in.

Striker Luciano Becchio will return to the side after being troubled by a back problem. He’ll replace Billy Paynter.

Meanwhile, George McCartney will come in at left-back for Ben Parker.

But Patrick Kisnorbo (Achilles) and Neil Kilkenny (international duty) are out.

United midfielder Bradley Johnson said: ‘We learned from last year that the bread and butter of the league is what matters.

‘It is nice to play the big teams like we did in the FA Cup this week against Arsenal.

‘But the league is the important thing.

‘We are out of the Cup now so we can concentrate on tomorrow and trying to get the three points.

‘Portsmouth is not an easy place to go as they are a good side and, as we all know, they drew with us not so long ago.

‘But we are confident and, hopefully, we can get the win.’