Cotts can’t wait to taste derby

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Steve Cotterill admits he can’t wait for his first taste of a south coast showdown as Pompey manager.

The Blues found out their schedule for the new campaign last week with the release of the 2011-12 fixture list.

Pompey will open their campaign with the long trip to Middlesbrough.

That’s the pre-cursor to a tough spell for Cotterill’s side, with a host of tricky clashes early on.

But it’s the two meetings with the Blues’ fiercest rivals Southampton that fans are really looking forward to.

They will take place on December 17, when Nigel Adkins’ men come to Fratton Park, with the return at St Mary’s on April 7.

The December clash will be the first meeting between the two sides since Pompey thrashed Southampton 4-1 in the FA Cup last year.

It will also be Cotterill’s first south coast derby.

And he is champing at the bit to taste the intense atmosphere the occasion brings.

Cotterill said: ‘It’s a big game, obviously, and I’m looking forward to it.

‘It’s big for both clubs and to have that in the week leading up to Christmas is good.

‘I’m glad we’ve got them at home first because the likelihood is it will be the game picked for Sky.

‘So we’re okay with that and looking forward to it.

‘It will be my first south coast derby and I’m looking forward to being in charge for it.

‘There are two good clubs with a strong rivalry and plenty of passion.

‘Hopefully, there will plenty of that and plenty of good football.’