With tomorrow nights game against Bolton fast approaching, lets hope that Pardew has taken my advise and has already got the lads encoused in a nice hotel up there in the North-west getting them acclimatized. With rain and wind forecast for Wednesday he'll no doubt be feeding them lots of Lancashire hot pot to get 'em in the mood for a battle.
In a recent interview our new leader recently pointed out that: "The key for us is after we are out of this Bolton, Man United, Chelsea run of games. If the points gap is like it is at the moment I think we'll have a great chance. It's in that period that we have to ensure our rivals don't get away from us when we play the top teams."
So how's he going to do that? The only answer is to make sure we get some points from Bolton, Chelski and manure. Well, thats easy then. But we have a couple of things in our favour. Together with Mr Lets-Move-On, who sees tomorrow night being a 2-0 home romp, all these teams will be expecting a walk-over.
And we have the evil eye over Bolton at the moment having beaten them twice already this season, 2-0 at the Valley in the Premiership followed by a 1-0 victory in the League Cup thing and they're currently not enjoying the best of runs with only have 1 win in their last 5 games and that was against Doncaster away in the FA Cup.
The first thing on Pardews mind will be what team does he turn out against Bolton. Against a team that has collected the second highest yellow count in the Premiership this season and renowned for their no-nonsense toughness, AP will surely not chance putting out anyone not fully fit. It looks odds on then that he'll keep faith with the eleven that beat Pompey 10 days ago. And playing with two wingers may force their aged ( Speed 37 and Campo 32 ) midfield to work more. They may be tired from their game on Sunday against the Arse while we have spent the last 10 days getting fitter, apparently. And he'll be studing the video of Sundays game and making sure that Faye is aware of which foot is giving Davies gyp.
And we can only have gained in confidence after our first away win in 15 months last time out. Harry explained that defeat as being their worst performance of the season but then we get an award for what the five-man panel from the League Managers' Association "ruled the 1-0 victory was the greatest display of the weekend."
To save you looking it up, our team that day at Portsmouth was: Carson; Sankofa, El Karkouri, Hreidarsson, Thatcher; Rommedahl (Kishishev 83), Faye (Diawara 90), Holland, Hughes, Thomas (Hasselbaink 90); M Bent. Subs (not used): Myhre, Ambrose.
And to our injured trio of Young, Reid and Darren B that are reported to be back in training we can now add the two new boys Magic Madjid and ZZ. It all adds up to more competition for places and speculations as to how Pards is going to fit them all into a winning team. And a winning team its going to be, we all expect (!) at least one win from these 3 games....
Because surprisingly, given our situation, apart from our two Scandinavian goalkeepers, that are obviously getting bored doing nothing, and the sudden departure of Traore there's been little reported desire to jump ship, well apart from Denis that is! With everyone out here on the outside expecting, sorry hoping, to see a exodus of unwanted players during January it does, I suppose, reflect a desire, apart from Denis that is, to fight to the end.....