Portsmouth target record start

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The Independent Online

Portsmouth will equal Chelsea's record of six consecutive clean sheets at the start of a Premiership season if they can keep out Sam Allardyce's Bolton at Fratton Park tonight.

"All the players are aware of the clean-sheets record," said the club's midfielder Sean Davis, formerly of Tottenham and Fulham. "Especially Jamo [Portsmouth goalkeeper David James] of course, although strikers usually don't care that much so long as they score and their team wins.

"But Pedro Mendes and I, as defensive midfielders, are very pleased with that record and want to keep it going as long as we can."

Kevin Nolan, meanwhile, has his eyes on an England call-up in place of Owen Hargreaves after the Bayern Munich midfielder broke a leg, putting him out of next month's two European Championship qualifiers. The England manager Steve McClaren has mentioned the Bolton captain as among those players he is keeping an eye on, and Nolan said: "I feel really sorry for Owen, it's a nasty thing to happen to anyone. But that can sometimes open the door for other players and it would be nice if I could get the call."

Nolan has challenged his side to "win it for the gaffer" tonight, in the wake of the BBC Panorama controversy surrounding Allardyce. "We want a positive result for the gaffer because he deserves it," Nolan said. "We're hoping to give Sam something to cheer about. Hopefully, we can get him through this."

Kevin Davies may return after four weeks out with a fractured cheekbone. Stelios Giannakopoulos, Quinton Fortune and Abdoulaye Faye will have fitness tests but Tal Ben Haim is fit.

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