SHAUN DERRY is looking forward to catching up with old friends tomorrow.
The Cambridge boss believes he is coming up against a ‘formidable’ club when the U’s face his former side.
Derry was a popular figure during his two years at Fratton Park from 2000 until 2002.
The 38-year-old spoke in glowing terms of his feelings for Pompey.
And there was even praise for a club stalwart in the shape of kitman, Kev McCormack.
Derry said: ‘The person who sticks out for me is Big Kev, the kit man.
‘He’s been there for donkey’s years and I’m sure he’ll continue to be there in the future.
‘He’s synonymous with Portsmouth Football Club. When you see Big Kev arrive at a football ground you realise Portsmouth are in town.
‘You look at certain fans who follow them and John Westwood is the standout fan for them.
‘He comes in his full clobber with Portsmouth badges on his coat, the mad hair and the bell.
‘I can remember reading a comment from Thierry Henry when he was asked who were the best fans he played in front of and he said, aside from Arsenal, it was the Portsmouth fans.
‘That proves how vocal they can be and how they get right behind their team, so it’s a formidable football club we’re up against this weekend.’
Derry made 49 appearances for the Blues after being signed by Tony Pulis from Sheffield United for £300,000.
That proved to a key part of his football education as he went on to play for the likes of Crystal Palace, Leeds and QPR.
Derry looks back at his time at Pompey fondly.
He said: ‘Portsmouth was the first club I went to as a player where I moved away from home, so it made me grow up as an individual, as a player and as a character.
‘I think when you’re playing for Portsmouth and you’ve got the backing of that tremendous crowd, it’s astonishing. I think they’re getting more now in League Two than when they were a Championship club when I was playing for them.
‘It tells you a story of how loyal they are, and they’ve had some pretty hard times as well in the past 10 years.
‘From the time I spent there I can’t talk highly enough of them.
‘They were brilliant to me and I think they appreciated the type of person I was and the type of player I was.’
- JORDAN CROSS