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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 13:09 GMT
Can they survive?
Leicester boss Micky Adams (left) and Harry Redknapp of Portsmouth
Leicester and Portsmouth look set for the Premiership

Portsmouth and Leicester are the runaway leaders of Division One and appear headed for a ride on the Premiership gravy train.

The two clubs, who played out a 1-1 draw at the Walkers Stadium on Monday, look set for automatic promotion this season.

But will they manage to stay on for more than one stop, or are will it be a quick return trip to the Nationwide?

We look at the merits of the two clubs to see who stands the best chance of surviving more than a season in the top-flight.


Playing squad

Despite relegation and money troubles, Leicester have held onto the likes of Muzzy Izzet, Gerry Taggart, Matt Elliott and Ian Walker.

And even Pompey boss Harry Redknapp admits "they are a Premiership side on paper".

But Portsmouth's quality has been evident since the start of the season when they took 25 points from their first nine games.

Former Arsenal star Paul Merson has been joined in midfield by the recent addition of Tim Sherwood from Spurs.

Up front Svetoslav Todorov has provided the goals and Nigeria's exciting striker Yacubu Ayegbini recently arrived on loan from Maccabi Haifa.

Verdict: Play up Pompey


Premiership experience

It may be a while since Pompey visited Old Trafford and Highbury on league duty, but they still have plenty of Premiership experience on board.

Merson has spent most of his career in the top flight, while Sherwood, Shaka Hislop and Steve Stone have all spent time among the big boys.

But age could prove to be a problem for Pompey, who may need to add some youth to their experience in time for next season.

Leicester have kept hold of the spine of the side that was relegated from the Premiership last season.

They have overcome the loss of Robbie Savage to Birmingham and Matt Piper to Sunderland and added experienced campaigners like Billy McKinlay and Nicky Summerbee.

Verdict: Flying Foxes


Spending power

It is clear that both sides will need to invest if they are to go up and have a chance of staying.

Portsmouth rely totally on one man - millionaire chairman Milan Mandaric.

He has a personal fortune that could allow Portsmouth to compete on a level footing with many Premiership clubs.

But his commitment to the club has shown signs of waning and after investing more than 20m it is unsure how much money he will hand Redknapp for next season.

Leicester's fall from the Premiership left them in financial crisis and in danger of going out of business.

The club was rescued from administration by a consortium that included Gary Lineker, but while their future may no longer be in doubt they remain on a strict budget.

Verdict: Play up Pompey


Facilities

Portsmouth are desperate to replace the decaying Fratton Park but do not look any closer to doing so.

Their ground holds only 19,000 fans and the club do not even have their own training ground.

In contrast, Leicester's facilities have Premiership written all over them.

A 32,000 full house at the Walkers Stadium saw the draw between Pompey and the Foxes on Monday, while they have also invested in first-class training facilities.

Verdict: Flying Foxes


Manager

Redknapp has been there, done it and bought the T-shirt - probably for a knock down price.

He cut his teeth in the lower leagues with Bournemouth before enjoying a largely successful seven years with West Ham.

Leicester's Micky Adams has spent much of his time in the lower leagues, but he is one of the most highly-regarded young bosses in English football.

The 41-year-old enjoyed successful spells at Brighton and Fulham and has impressed in difficult circumstances since taking over from Dave Bassett at Leicester.

Verdict: Flying Foxes

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