Lawrence reckons Withdean win can revive Pompey

In-demand Pompey manager Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler

Comment: Perfect storm precipitates Cook’s Pompey exit

Liam Lawrence has backed the Withdean Stadium to resuscitate ailing Pompey.

The Blues face a tough FA Cup tie at League One runaway leaders Brighton tomorrow as they look for a return to form.

The Christmas period yielded just two points from a possible 12 seeing Steve Cotterill's men slide down the table.

Now his paper-thin squad must take on one of the form sides in England.

Brighton are six points clear at the League One summit and undefeated in the league at the Withdean Stadium.

The Seagulls have also lost just two of their past 22 matches in all competitions.

For Pompey, tomorrow will be their first FA Cup match since facing Chelsea in the final on May 15. And Lawrence believes it offers the ideal opportunity to kick-start their season once again.

He said: 'It's going to be very, very tough but we need games like this.

'The last thing we want to do is go there and lose because I know it's a bit of a local thing as well with some of the supporters.

'Make no mistake, we will be going there to win the game.

'I know some people might say it's getting in the way of the league but not to me.

'We need games like this to maybe get us a win and trigger us off again.

'The league is my priority but obviously the FA Cup is an amazing competition and I love playing in it.

'It has got a great atmosphere and a great tradition, and this club has been amazing in it in the past few years.

'With this club and the history we have got with the FA Cup, you cannot ever say it is a distraction.

'I played at the Withdean Stadium with Mansfield nine years ago and we lost.

'I've not done too good in the FA Cup, either. I've never gone that far with Stoke, Sunderland or Mansfield.

'It's a tough place to go and it was back then.

'Brighton are not a bad side and they've got a good manager so we will have to be at our best, that's for sure.'

Pompey are expected to head along the south coast with a squad of just 15.

Ricardo Rocha is out with a hamstring problem, while Greg Halford has returned to Wolves where he will serve his three-match ban.

In addition, Danny Webber is still sidelined as he makes his comeback from a cruciate ligament injury.

Meanwhile, after their contract offers were withdrawn, it is highly unlikely Michael Brown and Richard Hughes will play for the club again.

For Lawrence it is crucial the squad is strengthened if the Blues are to progress this season.

However, he believes quality still exists in Cotterill's small squad.

He added: 'I think we need more players, it's plain to see for everybody around Portsmouth.

'But the manager's hands are tied to what and who he can bring in.

'When I came to the club I was told this and that was going to happen so hopefully things are going to start to happen.

'Obviously the start the club had at the beginning of the season was bad when some of us players weren't here.

'But I look at it now and we should be beating anyone who comes to our place and giving anyone a game away from home.

'It's just frustrating at the minute but we've got a great set of lads in there and a good manager so we'll sort it out.'

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