This week we’re joined by Ben Hardinge from Pompey Pages for a look ahead to this Saturday’s Championship clash between Leeds United and Portsmouth.

Last season, both games were high scoring affairs (2-2 at Fratton Park & 3-3 at Elland Road), has much changed since then for Portsmouth?

Well we’ve got new owners, pretty much a whole new squad with the same back bone, more belief and are a lot more financially secure. In terms of things on the pitch, we were in the relegation zone this time last season so we have improved with our bigger and better squad, but unfortunately we’re still missing out on results from sloppy defending.

You’ve had a bit of a hit and miss start to the season, where do you expect finish this season?

Every Pompey fan you ask will probably give you a different answer to this question. Personally, I’d be over the moon with a top half finish, but am expecting a mid-table finish. Last season we could’ve been relegated with the size of the squad we had and the money available to us but we’re slowly fighting back and we’ll slowly climb up the table along with it.

During the summer, we signed Michael Brown from your lot and it’s fair to say he hasn’t set the world alight since he signed. What did you think of him at Pompey? Do you think he still has something to offer for Leeds this season?

He was absolutely superb at Pompey. Die-hard midfielder who loves a tackle and can get a bit hot-headed but we all loved him – that was until Pompey entered more financial difficulties and Michael Brown was unable to feature for one more game after Boxing Day otherwise it would trigger a new contract on his ‘Premier League’ wages that we couldn’t afford – so we had no choice but to drop him for 5 months. Unfortunately Brown wouldn’t waiver this clause and just play anyway – nor would Richard Hughes – so simple answer was he WAS a great player for us, a hard tackler, great passer and very passionate, but he let us all down at the end!

In terms of could he still offer something for Leeds, yes if his heart is in it but I’ve got a feeling he’s got all the money he needs now and doesn’t really care about the game.

Who should we be keeping an eye out for in your side on Saturday?

Erik Huseklepp has got to be our danger man. He scored his first goal against Blackpool at the weekend, and despite scoring the losing own-goal against Peterborough on Tuesday night, he set up two of the other goals. Not many other fans in the Championship know much about him as he’s just come over from Norway, but he’s a great young talent who can play wide out on the wings or up-front!

If you could sign any current Leeds player for Portsmouth, who would it be?

I’d probably take Andy O’Brien back – it’s always nice to see former Pompey players back and he did us a favour last season with two own-goals. Although I’d quite like to see Billy Paynter or Becchio in a Pompey shirt as I’m sure they’d score the goals we need at the moment!

Finally, what’s your prediction for the game? I’m going for a 2-1 home win!

It’s a hard one to call at the moment. I’d probably take a point. We’ve lost to Hull and West Ham away so far, and taken points at Middlesborough and Bristol City so it’s pretty hard to judge where our away form is. 2-2?

  • Who’s taking Paynter to the train station?

    • Ron Galea

      We’ll need a big rig. Throw in O’Brien as well. Can someone give me the odds on a nil all draw for this match? They must be triple digit.

      • Mattk

        Triple digit because with two dodgy defences there’s not a cat in hell’s chance of it being 0-0. Which means of course, knowing how football (and Leeds) works, that it’s a nailed on certainty and well worth a punt!

    • Fat Freddy

      I’m in Egypt at the moment, but I’ll come back and carry him down there if needed

  • Shotgun!

  • Terry”

    If they want Paynter ill drive him and O’Brien there myself and pay for the Petrol too,”…

    • He_mase

      I will chuck in for petrol as well. Tell the motorway service station meal is on me if Brown wants to go as well.  MOT.

  • bob

    Im a pompey fan and his decision to have andy o brien back baffles me, he was shocking when he was here last time and that was when he was suppose to be in his prime I dread to think what hes like now hes 34

    • Mr Pr1979


  • Anonymous

    get1 ,get 2 free, paynter for free then they can have brown and O’Brien for free win win win for leeds

  • Matthew

    Average game today, I am kind of happy we have 3 easy games coming up, which should cement our place in the top 6.

    However the rest of the games are borderline difficult and am expecting a few losses/draws, and a few wins. Either way we need to have at least 40 odd points by christmas, then 10 or so wins would cement our playoff spot come the end of April.

  • Jonathan Lufc Kelly

    I’ve always assumed these interviews were with informed fans, but to want OB and Paynter??? Quick, give em to em, before they realise …

  • Jeff Craven

    Have em both with our compliments…