It’s ‘strictly business’ as Portsmouth prepare to face old friends 

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Matt Clarke vowed there’s no room for sentiment as his side go to Coventry.

It’s going to be a case of friends reunited at the Ricoh Arena as Pompey aim to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Mark Robins’ squad is stocked with a number of players who have donned the star & crescent on their chests.

Michael Doyle, Tom Davies, Liam O’Brien, Dominic Hyam and Conor Chaplin are all now part of the Sky Blues set-up.

Chaplin is not able to play as part of the terms of his loan move to the club, which becomes permanent in January.

But there are going to be a lot of familiar faces in opposition for many of the current Pompey set-up.

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Clarke is looking forward to catching up with members of the squad who helped Pompey to the League Two title last year.

But the 22-year-old underlined there will be no problem for his team to focus on the job of getting a result against Coventry.

When it comes down to the game itself it will be strictly business for the defender.

Clarke said: ‘There’s a few lads we know.

‘There’s lads, that if you’ve been at Portsmouth for a while, you’re going to know.

‘That isn’t going to change anything, though.

‘Once the whistle goes and you are on the pitch it’s business.

‘Maybe after the game we can shake hands, have a chat and ask how things are going.

‘But while you’re playing that won’t be the case.

‘I can’t imagine Doyler’s (Michael Doyle) going to be taking his foot off the gas at all!

‘You look forward to seeing you friends, of course, but the game’s the game - and it’s business.’

The win at Rochdale on Saturday started a run of five games in 15 days for Kenny Jackett’s side.

With confidence high, Clarke feels that’s the kind of busy period the Blues squad will embrace.

He added: ‘These are the periods you look forward to.

‘When you are playing well you want the games to come. You don’t want a week’s training between games.

‘You want game after game after game. As a player that’s the best thing and what you want.

‘We want to put as many points on the board as possible.

‘We can’t think we’re going to lose that game and win that one.

‘We’ve ticked off Rochdale and it’s been all about preparing right for Coventry.’

           - JORDAN CROSS