Appleton: We’ll do it for the fans

114115-479_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-479
114115-479_WATFORD_POMPEY_SR_19/11/11'Action from Watford vs Pompey at Vicarage Road.'Michael Appleton watches the game from the technical area.''Picture:Steve Reid 114115-479
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Gallen relishing Pompey’s FA Cup trip to Luton

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Michael Appleton braced himself for his first south coast derby and pledged: We won’t let down our fans.

Pompey lock horns with fierce rivals Southampton on Sunday.

It is the first time they have met at Fratton Park since the Lomana Lualua-inspired 4-1 hammering back in 2005.

Appleton has been on the south coast for only five weeks.

Yet the occasion clearly isn’t lost on the Blues boss, especially after the club’s recent off-field troubles.

Supporters have made him well aware of the importance of defeating Southampton.

And he is adamant Pompey will be giving their all to clinch what would be a third-successive derby triumph.

Appleton said: ‘I am aware of what this occasion means to everyone. What I can say is we will be doing our utmost to get a win for the supporters.

‘Everyone keeps explaining to me that I will have never experienced anything like it before.

‘Pretty much since the day I walked through the door everybody has been talking about this match.

‘Over the past few days, I have actually been trying to find out why it’s so different to other derbies.

‘I wanted to understand it before I am part of it.

‘I’ve been told the history of the rivalry is about the docks.

‘It is amazing the amount of people who have come up to me and told me about the importance of the game.

‘In Winchester the other day, a couple of men wearing suits came up to me. It turned out they were Portsmouth fans and were willing us on to win.

‘Even at Southampton Air-port yesterday, a Portsmouth supporter approached me.

‘I definitely understand the importance of this match.

‘I will make sure the players are prepared, organised and, hopefully, we will get a little bit of a rub of the green.

‘It’s going to be a special day and I’m really looking forward to it.’

Southampton have picked up just one point from their past three matches.

But they remain top of the Championship, 17 points ahead of the Blues.

Pompey themselves head into the fixture on the back of two successive league wins.

But Appleton is giving no credence to Southampton’s recent shaky form.

He added: ‘The league table does not lie.

‘People would probably say Southampton are not in the best of form at the minute but the table says at present they are the best team in the league.

‘I watched them beat Hull a couple of weeks back and they are a good side who play some decent stuff.

‘They have two or three match-winners in the team, which sometimes is the difference at this level.

‘I’m under no illusions how difficult it is going to be.

‘However, we have a good record at home and are full of confidence after recent results.’