Ex-Portsmouth skipper Liam Lawrence: Fratton Park is deafening - and Southampton's players will go under if not committed
Liam Lawrence has warned Southampton they will crumble under Fratton Park’s intimidating atmosphere if players lack commitment.
For the first time since December 2011, Pompey will tonight host their south-coast rivals.
Lawrence skippered Michael Appleton’s side in that encounter, the occasion finishing 1-1 thanks to Joel Ward’s late headed equaliser.
Now the fierce rivals meet again, courtesy of the Carabao Cup.
Watching events unfold on television tonight will be Lawrence, who made 58 appearances and scored eight times during his Blues stay.
And he is convinced Fratton Park’s daunting atmosphere can put the Premier League club out of their stride.
He told The News: ‘The noise inside the stadium in 2011 was deafening, I don’t think some of these players yet realise what’s in store for them!
‘Obviously I’ve played in bigger crowds in other derbies, but Fratton Park is electric. When Pompey fans get going they are brilliant.
‘When I was playing in that game I couldn't even hear the manager speak, he was trying to get instructions on and I couldn’t hear a thing.
‘As an opposition player, I always hated going to Fratton Park. It was tight, compact, they were always good at home and the crowd always up for it.
‘I think it can intimidate the Southampton players. If there is any Southampton player not up for it and not committed on that day they will be found out.
‘The Pompey players will be up for it, the crowd will be going mad, if any Southampton player is not 100 per cent committed they are in danger of going under, I am afraid.
‘I went down there with Stoke in the Carling Cup in November 2009 and a couple of our lads looked dazed in the headlights like rabbits.
‘That's the effect Fratton Park sometimes has on you.’
Now a BBC Radio Stoke pundit, Lawrence laughs when recalling the 1-1 draw he was involved in.
He added: ‘I remember the scenes when Wardy scored at the Fratton End, I was glad for him because he had come through the youth system.
‘While I had a shocker, I was rubbish, so was glad we drew!’