Henderson has one eye on derby day

Stephen Henderson
Stephen Henderson
Reuben Sammut

Pompey bide their time over midfielder

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Stephen Henderson has swerved his Ipswich press ganging.

Now the keeper is relishing the opportunity to renew rivalries with his friends down the M27.

Only this time without being on the receiving end of whisky bottles and coins hurled by Southampton fans.

Pompey continues to represent Henderson’s future.

For how long the club remains in existence in its current format is another matter for concern.

Regardless, the Blues players still have fixtures to fulfil.

The weekend visit of Hull may have fallen foul of the weather but there is a trip to Birmingham tomorrow night.

In a busy February they also have Blackpool, Ipswich, Barnsley and Leeds – in addition to a rearrangement of the Tigers match.

But it is Saturday, April 7 which is very much on Henderson’s mind.

The Irishman was pelted with items from the visiting supporters during December’s south coast derby draw.

He continues to be regularly abused by Southampton supporters on Twitter, describing some comments as ‘horrible’.

Not that it has put Henderson off participating in the return clash scheduled for less than two months’ time.

He savoured every minute of the 1-1 Fratton Park draw which saw Joel Ward equalise late on.

And he is itching to face Pompey’s fierce rivals as soon as possible.

He said: ‘The south coast derby was the best thing I ever witnessed in a game, ever.

‘Oh my God, it will be something I will always remember. I was so lucky to be part of it.

‘It was a bit silly, though. Their fans were throwing stuff at me.

‘I saw them throw stuff at Bristol City players when they played them a few weeks later.

‘I didn’t think they were like that but they must be.

‘A bottle of whisky was thrown onto the pitch when we scored the equaliser – a few coins as well.

‘I suppose it is part and parcel, as long as it didn’t hit me because there could have been a bit of trouble then.

‘I tried to tell the police but it was so loud you just couldn’t talk to anyone really.

‘I did tell the assistant referee but he was beside the fans – and I couldn’t really snitch on them.

‘My girlfriend and her family were over and they were shellshocked.

‘I told them before the game “you won’t believe what you are in for here” and I was right.

‘I’m actually looking forward to the return.

‘Although, I think Fratton would be a better atmosphere than St Mary’s.’

Henderson, along with team-mate Ward, snubbed transfer deadline day moves to Ipswich Town last week.

It was a remarkable display of loyalty from the pair, with Jason Pearce another insistent he didn’t want to leave.

Their willingness to stay at Fratton Park has been applauded by supporters.

But not every football fan has such pleasant things to say about the 24-year-old.

Namely, those from Southampton who at present throw abuse at Henderson rather than bottles and coins.

He added: ‘What has been said on Twitter (by Southampton fans) hasn’t been nice.

‘It just angers me when you’ve got people who feel they can just say something to you and not bite.

‘What has been said has been horrible.

‘But it’s what you are in for when you are on stuff like that (Twitter), so you’ve got to take it on the chin.

‘They chirp up now and again but I just leave them to it.

‘It’s said everybody is a hero behind a keyboard and it is very true.

‘They seem very cocky (on Twitter) about going up.’