Pompey v Oxford: Adam McGurk out for bragging rights as friends reunite

Adam McGurk. Picture: Joe Pepler
Adam McGurk. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Adam McGurk is determined to earn the bragging rights as Pompey go to Oxford.

The attacker told his former team-mate there is no fear in the Blues as they go to the Kassam Stadium in confident form tomorrow.

Alex MacDonald  (centre) is tackled by Danny Hollands (left) and Johnny Ertl (right).

Alex MacDonald (centre) is tackled by Danny Hollands (left) and Johnny Ertl (right).

It’ll be a case of friends reunited as Paul Cook’s side take on a U’s side, who have started the campaign in decent form.

Former Pompey boss Michael Appleton is overseeing the side’s bid for promotion with former Pompey head of performance Mark Thomas in his backroom staff.

Ryan Taylor will be expected to lead the line for his side after moving up the A34 from Fratton Park in the summer.

And McGurk will be meeting up with an old friend in the shape of attacker Alex MacDonald.

I’m sure there’ll be a few texts flying backwards and forwards.

Adam McGurk

The pair helped fired Burton Albion to the League Two title last season, although MacDonald departed for Oxford over the second half of the campaign.

Now McGurk is looking to ensure he is the man smiling tomorrow tea-time, although he acknowledged Pompey face a stiff test of their credentials.

He said: ‘I know Alex MacDonald. I know him from my time at Burton, so hopefully he has a bad game!

‘I’m sure there’ll be a few texts flying backwards and forwards.

‘Oxford have started well so far.

‘From last season you could see they like to pass the ball and get it down.

‘They’ve brought in some good players.

‘They’ve started well so they will be looking to win the game, but so will we.

‘It’ll be a good game and another test, but a different one to what we faced against Barnet.’

Appleton has been well backed by his board in the summer as Oxford shape a side expected to challenge for promotion.

They suffered their first defeat of the campaign last weekend at Northampton, after an impressive opening.

McGurk knows what to expect – but believes Pompey’s form this season means there is no fear about any league opposition.

He said: ‘I’ve played there a few times so I know it’s going to be a hard game.

‘We respect every team in this league – but we don’t fear anyone.

‘Even in the cup games we showed that we can match up with the best teams around. So we won’t fear Oxford but we’ll respect Oxford like we would any side.

‘We’ll be going there to win.’

McGurk was encouraged by the way Pompey returned to winning ways at home against Barnet last weekend after two frustrating draws at Fratton Park.

That was a necessary victory in his eyes as Cook’s side were elevated into the automatic promotion places.

But McGurk tempered that leap with a pragmatic response.

He said: ‘You need to win your home games, or if you don’t win make sure you don’t get beat.

‘We needed to give the fans something to cheer about on Saturday.

‘It’s still early days yet but you can’t be going into the last 15 games wishing you’d won this game or that game.

‘You have to do the business now, but there’s still a real difference between being in there with 10 games to go and being there now.’