Mullins: No Pompey pressure

Hayden Mullins feels the pressure will be off Pompey at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Hayden Mullins feels the pressure will be off Pompey at Stamford Bridge on Sunday
Pompey suffered defeat at Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss pledges to resolve defensive issues

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Hayden Mullins warmed up for an FA Cup final re-run and insisted: We can thrive as the underdogs.

Michael Appleton’s side head to Stamford Bridge on Sunday for the third-round clash.

Mullins is a certain starter in a side still missing the injured Luke Varney.

For the 32-year-old, it will be the opportunity to lock horns with the club he last faced at Wembley.

Mullins operated in the unfamiliar role of left-back for the final against Chelsea on May 15, 2010.

Avram Grant’s side ultimately lost 1-0.

Didier Drogba’s second-half free-kick separated the sides on the day.

The Ivory Coast striker won’t be present on Sunday as he carries out African Cup of Nation duties.

But Mullins, along with fellow survivors from that day, Ricardo Rocha and Aaron Mokoena, could all feature.

Naturally, Andre Villas-Boas’ side will be expected to win once again.

But Mullins is convinced not having the burden of expectation can help Pompey.

He said: ‘It’s going to be a brilliant game. It’s one I am really looking forward to.

‘There is no pressure on us, we can go up there and enjoy the day and enjoy the game.

‘Results haven’t gone well for them at home so if we can go up there and be solid, I am sure we can enjoy the occasion.

‘There is no pressure on us, it’s a bonus game for us, really.

‘Then we can go back into the pressures of the league after that.

‘I don’t know if we will be able the win it.

‘What I can say, though, is we will go up there and enjoy it and take whatever comes.

‘If we win or draw it is a great result.

‘If they beat us then no-one’s going to bat an eyelid because they are Chelsea.

‘They will be expected to win and that suits us fine.’

Kanu and Jamie Ashdown were also in the Pompey squad that Wembley day.

Yet both will be on the substitutes’ bench on Sunday.

Another member of that set-up, Tal Ben Haim, could feature at left-back in place of Joe Mattock.

Ben Haim was an unused substitute for that 2010 FA Cup final but is in the frame to line up against his former club at the weekend.