Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Friday November 18 2011
LEAGUE ACTION returns to Vicarage Road this weekend as Watford play host to Portsmouth.
Pompey travel to Vicarage Road under the stewardship of new boss, Michael Appleton for the first time.
The former Manchester United and West Brom midfielder was snared from the Baggies backroom staff after the loss of Steve Cotterill to Nottingham Forest a few weeks before.
The 30 year-old arrives at a good time after seeing his new side sweep Cotterill and Forest aside 3-0 in their last fixture before the international break at Fratton Park.
Despite being short on numbers, Portsmouth do have the luxury of an experienced squad with the likes of Liam Lawrence, Hayden Mullins, Aaron Mokoena and Dave Kitson all with the South Coast outfit at present.
The summer saw further experience added in Luke Varney and David Norris.
Varney had just enjoyed a hugely impressive season with Blackpool who were cruelly relegated after a flying start. The winger-cum-forward did not however fit into the Lancashire outfit's tight wage bracket and so moved to Pompey from Derby County. Five goals in his first 13 league appearances have proven him value for money.
Former Ipswich Town captain Norris cost the Tractor Boys ~£2.5m in January 2008. However following injury issues and another change of manager the 30 year-old central midfielder moved onto pastures new. A real box-to-box schemer with an eye for a pass, Norris made his name in the Championship with Plymouth Argyle.
Two other summer signings returned to Fratton Park after absences in Jason Pearce and Benjani Mwarurwari.
Pearce left the club to join Bournemouth in search of first-team football back in 2011 and skippered the club to promotion to League One in 2009-10. Benjani on the other hand returned on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers where he failed to really settle after his move from Manchester City.
The Zimbabwean striker made his name in England whilst on the South Coast. After a slow start, a prolific start to the 2006-07 season saw him move to Manchester City pre-riches era. That move didn't work out and via a loan spell at Sunderland, Benjani is back with Pompey.
Appleton has promised to return Portsmouth to the top-flight upon arrival. These could be exciting times down on the South Coast.
Watford: Loach; Hodson, Mariappa, Nosworthy, Dickinson; Yeates, Buaben, Hogg, Forsyth; Sordell & Iwelumo.
Portsmouth: Henderson; Halford, Pearce, Ben-Haim, Rocha; Huseklepp, Mullins, Norris (c), Razak; Kitson & Varney.o the business for us.
Date:Friday November 18 2011
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