By Nathan BeesFor those of you like me who hate Rovers-free weekends, the Wimbledon washout will have been massively disappointing. However, it may prove to be a blessing in disguise.
Whilst we were not able to bounce back quickly from the Accrington Stanley defeat 7 days earlier, it gave everyone the chance to recharge their batteries and get over any niggling injuries they may have had. It could prove crucial as we head into the run-in over the next couple of months.
We have yet another game against a promotion rival tomorrow and it is arguably our biggest away trip of the season. Playing Portsmouth will always be a big game because, well, it’s Portsmouth, but it has even more riding on it given that we are in direct competition with each other in the battle for a play-off place.
Fratton Park is a great place to play football and with an away sell-out of 2860 the atmosphere should be electric. Gasheads always rise to the occasion in away matches as significant as this one and we head to a place where the home fans will be equally passionate, so it should help create a cauldron of noise when the teams emerge from the tunnel before kick off.
We have all heard players say it gives them a massive lift when their own fans turn out in force to support them and that should be the case for both teams tomorrow. However, Pompey supporters are slightly frustrated with their inability to regularly win at home and they could easily translate on the pitch. If it does, we need to use it to our advantage.
If we start well and frustrate Paul Cook’s side the home faithful will get on their players’ backs, and that can only be a good thing for us. I am sure we are confident about our chances anyway because we are good enough to beat any team in the division on our day, but if we can sense nervousness in the home ranks that will hopefully give us an additional edge.
It is fixtures like this that fans and players alike have to embrace and enjoy. How often do you get to play against a big club in a great stadium in a promotion battle? The answer, as we all know, is not ‘not very’. If you aren’t excited for occasions like this you never will be.
I have been looking forward to it all week and I can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and enjoy what should be a great day. I am an optimist so this may not be that surprising, but I have a good feeling about it. We will be itching to get back on the pitch again after our enforced break and everybody will be bang up for it against a promotion rival, so hopefully that will see us put in a performance worthy of all 3 points.
Let’s do ourselves proud on and off the pitch and send out a statement of intent to the rest of League Two.
Come on Rovers, come on you blues!