Can Portsmouth qualify for Europe this season?

Portsmouth’s fortunes have changed drastically in the last two seasons and Harry Redknapp is the man responsible for it.

Portsmouth have strengthened their squad this summer but I feel that they are one or two quality signings away from being genuine European contenders. The ‘second’ season after a good performance is always tough (Everton, West Ham, Wigan) and you need a quality squad to deal with it (Tottenham) as well as luck with injuries (Newcastle).

I’m looking forward to seeing who Harry signs for Portsmouth in the next 3 weeks – it could mean the difference between 10th spot and 7th.

Manager Status: Harry’s Houdini act of 2005/2006 was bettered by his strong leadership of Portsmouth last season, and he’s best placed to lead Portsmouth to another top-10 finish.

Transfer Analysis: Nugent, Distin and Muntari are good signings, and Harry’s worked hard at added depth to his squad. You get the feeling that Portsmouth might move for a couple of more players at the close of the transfer season – with Harry you expect it.

Players to watch: Nugent – he’s a gamble at 6m but if he shines (and there’s a good chance he will) then Portsmouth will be a tough team to beat.

August Fixtures: Derby away, Manchester United and Bolton home before the 3 games against Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool. It’s a very tough start for Portsmouth but you’d expect them to play for 7 points from their first 3 games and then take it from there.

Expectations: Another top-10 finish.

Predictions: Strong candidates for a top-half (5th-8th) finish, but I think they’ll slip a bit and end up mid-table (9th-15th).

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