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Pompey plot to cut down Forest

PORTSMOUTH will be out to bring a halt to Steve Cotterill's fine start to life as Nottingham Forest manager when they welcome their former boss back to Fratton Park tomorrow.

Forest have won three of their four games since Cotterill took charge, the latest being Tuesday night's 1-0 defeat of Reading.

But Pompey have also performed well under caretaker bosses Guy Whittingham and Stuart Gray -- taking seven points from five games -- and Whittingham is focusing on his own side and not the visitors.

Whittingham said: "It will be good to see Steve come back after working with him for more than (a) year here, I've got a lot of respect for him.

"It will be a tough game against Forest. We know they will be well-organised and tough to break down.

"But we'll be thinking about how we impose ourselves on them rather than what they're good at.

"We're 20th, but we're only three points behind 14th place, so a win would be excellent ahead of the two-week international break.


"We showed at Crystal Palace that we're capable of defending well. We kept a clean sheet and did not allow them a shot.

"It was a good reaction after the Derby loss and an indication of the true character of the team. We've got a hard-working side who will give their all."

Cotterill could name an unchanged side for the first time after reporting no new injury concerns after the Reading win.

Ishmael Miller is still out after a hernia operation, while Garath McLeary, Dexter Blackstock, Chris Cohen and Paul Anderson are also still sidelined.

Elsewhere, Blackpool will look to build on their 5-0 thrashing of Leeds when they take on Millwall, while league leaders Southampton travel to Coventry.

Second-placed West Ham face a tough game at Hull -- who currently occupy the final play-off place -- while Middlesbrough will look to take advantage of any slip-up at home to Watford in the late kick-off.

Tomorrow's other fixtures see bottom side Doncaster travel to Ipswich, Bristol City take on Burnley, Crystal Palace travel to Cardiff and Peterborough at home to Derby.

Sunday's three matches feature Brighton at home to Barnsley, Leicester taking on Leeds and Reading entertaining Birmingham.