Something will have to give at Fratton Park as the league’s worst home record and worst away record do battle in the early kick-off on Saturday.

It’s already getting to ‘must-win’ territory for Portsmouth, who are boosted by the return to fitness of England goalkeeper David James. However, stand-out defender Younes Kaboul is suspended. Papa Bouba Diop and Steve Finnan have both trained this week and could be in line for recalls to the side.

But there has been more bad news for the stricken club this week as, for the second time this season, some players were not paid this week.

Burnley will be without their skipper Steven Caldwell after the defender was sent off at the end of the Clarets’ 5-3 defeat at West Ham last week, while loan striker David Nugent is ineligible to play against his parent club. News of Chris McCann’s impending recovery from a cruciate knee injury is encouraging for Burnley, but the Irish midfielder is still some time away from a retun to action.

In Caldwell’s absence Andre Bikey could shuffle back to centre-back alongside Clarke Carlisle with Kevin McDonald or Joey Gudjonsson coming into the midfield. Should Burnley boss Owen Coyle decide to leave Bikey in midfield Michael Duff would be the likeliest man to get the nod at the heart of the defence.

Stephen Jordan and Graham Alexander are both expected to be fit to play after both started at West Ham despite not being fully fit.

New Portsmouth manager Avram Grant will be all too aware of his side’s predicament. Defeat would leave them cut further adrift, with the seven point gap to safety liable to increase over the weekend. But a win would help them climb off the bottom of the table, above Wolves, at least temporarily.

A win for the Clarets would put them back into the top half of the table.

Portsmouth have lost their last four games after back-to-back 4-0 wins seemed to signal a recovery. Tellingly, nobody has more than three league goals for the South coast side, who have found goals hard to come by for much of the season. And neither have they been tight at the back, with 12 goals shipped in their last four matches.

Burnley haven’t found scoring goals difficult at all in their debut Premier League season, netting three on both of their last two trips away from Turf Moor, with Steven Fletcher justifying his club record £3m fee by scoring eight goals already. But as impressive as Burnley’s strikeforce have been, their defence has been naive and have regularly conceded sloppy goals. The Clarets are yet to keep a clean sheet on the road and will again have, in all likelihood, to score at least two goals to get any sort of positive result.

But there have been brighter signs. Along with Fletcher’s good form, Chris Eagles is finding his feet in the top flight, setting Fletcher up twice at West Ham as well as scoring his second league goal of the campaign.

If the Clarets can learn from their mistakes at the back as well as continuing to offer such a threat going forward they have every chance of picking up their first away win of the season. But Grant will have his team tight and organised and Burnley will have to work hard for space. Portsmouth are likely to be too scared of losing the game to really chase the three points, so a draw seems the likeliest result, with plenty of goals due to the two leaky defences.

Prediction: Portsmouth 2-2 Burnley.

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