Accrington v Pompey: The opposition view

Omar BecklesOmar Beckles
Omar Beckles
Portsmouth versus Accrington has become the least local derby you could possibly imagine.

There’s pretty much nothing these two management teams don’t know about each other. There aren’t many surprises in this fixture.

A few of the Accrington players have said it’s inevitable there’ll be a few messages and phone calls exchanged in the build-up to the game.

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Tom Davies and Adam Buxton will be in the middle of it, but I’m sure they’ll all be friends after the game.

Assistant manager, Jimmy Bell, spoke ahead of the match and said there’s no point going over all the links because it’s been done so many times.

He’s saying it’s up to Portsmouth’s staff if they want a rivalry, but they are just doing their best to prepare properly for the game. He’s playing it down.

The changes in personnel have hit double figures yet again for Stanley this season.

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There were four players in the starting XI for the first game of the season who featured in the play-offs against AFC Wimbledon.

That shows you how big a task it’s been for the staff, but that’s always been the case for them.

The results haven’t been brilliant, but the team has actually been playing pretty well.

It’s not been the standards they’ve reached last season yet, but they’ve been in all of the games they’ve played.

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In recent matches, they looked very good at Carlisle and should have won, and last Saturday against Notts County was by far the best performance of the season.

It’s a little too early really to pass judgement on the players who’ve come in.

Omar Beckles has looked excellent at times but has only played seven league games in his life.

Matty Pearson has been fabulous. I don’t think he’s missed a game since he signed and he’s up in the 60s in appearances now.

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Pearson can play anywhere in the back four and is your proper no-nonsense defender.

Seamus Conneely, the captain in the middle of the park, is just totally dependable and reliable.

Billy Kee dislocated his shoulder in pre-season and was struggling for fitness. But the fitter he’s got the better’s he’s looked, and he’s got three goals now.

John O’Sullivan has come back to the club on loan after playing in League One and the Championship.

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He knows the management team and loved his previous loan spell, so has come back. The more he’s played the better he looked.

So it’s shaping up into an interesting game again, but it always is between these two sides.