Striker set for Pompey showdown

Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch

Former Fratton favourite Peter Crouch is set to spearhead Stoke’s attempts at preventing a Capital One Cup upset tonight (7.45pm).

Buoyant Pompey head to the Premier League club on the back of four successive victories and a run of 12 matches without defeat.

Mark Hughes is expected to shuffle his line-up, leaving out ex-Blues players Asmir Begovic and Marc Wilson.

But Crouch has been tipped to start following two substitute appearances so far this season.

The 33-year-old totalled 35 goals in 88 appearances during two Pompey spells.

He later joined Spurs and then the Potters, where he has scored 32 times.

And Andy Awford has nothing but admiration for the ex-England man.

He said: ‘I love Crouchie to bits. He had a great career here in those golden times for us on the pitch and is a top player.

‘You don’t play for England and Liverpool and Tottenham if you are no good.

‘He’s a real nice lad as well, down to earth.

‘I was chief scout when he joined Pompey the first time (under Graham Rix) but didn’t particularly watch him. It wasn’t a lot to do with me in all honesty.

‘But I knew him anyway as we played against each other in reserve football as he was coming through the ranks as a young lad at Spurs before going on loan to QPR.

‘When he came back in the Premier League years I still had friends within the club and some of them mixed with Crouchie, so you get to meet him through those.

‘He did great for the club and was among other England internationals at the club with David James, Sol Campbell, Jermain Defoe and Glen Johnson.’