John Ward is expecting the travelling Blue Army to crank up the pressure on his Colchester troops tonight.
The Colchester boss has urged his players and home fans to rise to the challenge and also to get away from feeling too much sympathy for Pompey’s plight.
Ward said: ‘Portsmouth and Sheffield United will come to us and make a lot of noise and I’m sure that our supporters will respond.
‘I’m sure they’ll have the guy ringing the bell and that will all add to the atmosphere in the stadium.
‘But when the big boys turn up, we respond strongly.
‘Portsmouth have a lot of experience in their side and we shouldn’t be lulled into thinking “poor old Portsmouth”.
‘I’ve said to the boys that we should not get fooled by that.
‘It’s important we have respect for them and I have sympathy for their plight.
‘But they are our opponents and they will be trying to beat us.
‘They are a big football club and it’s up to us to put in a good performance.
‘They have players who have played in the Championship and we won’t underestimate them.’