David Norris felt the intensity build ahead of the south coast showdown and blasted: It’s win or bust for us.
Norris insists defeat is not an option for Michael Appleton’s men as they prepare to step into battle with fierce rivals Southampton.
The all-action midfielder promises he knows exactly what the game means to the Pompey faithful, with Fratton Park set to turn into a heaving bearpit tomorrow lunchtime.
Norris has sensed the anticipation building as the countdown to the game continued this week.
It will reach fever pitch come kick-off, as Pompey lock horns with Southampton on their own turf for the first time since the 4-1 demolition derby win in 2005.
Norris vowed only a win would do for supporters who are desperate for good news following more off-the-pitch problems at Fratton Park in recent weeks.
He said: ‘It’s pretty much win or bust. It means that much. We can’t lose.
‘We won’t be able to leave our house for a few months if we don’t win.
‘There’s the excitement of looking forward to such a big game. Everyone’s talking about it and looking forward to it.
‘It would be a bonus to score but winning is the be all and end all.
‘Training-wise it’s been normal this week, but around town it’s building up.
‘It’s getting bigger and bigger and the fans are looking forward to it.
‘We know it’s a massive game for them.
‘It’s about the fans. We have to win it for them.
‘This is a big occasion. It’s more than just a game and three points.’
Southampton go into the clash flying high in the Championship table with hopes of making it to the Premier League this season.
But Nigel Adkins’ men have tasted defeat in their past two games on the road, while Pompey have picked up back-to-back successes for the first time this campaign.
Norris, who is again set to play in the hole behind Dave Kitson, knows the form book will count for nothing, though, as the two teams face off tomorrow.
He said: ‘In derbies, especially with the history between the two teams here, it tends to come down to a one-off game.
‘They have good players and are a good team.
‘They have done magnificently, their league position shows that.
‘It’s going to be a tough game for us.
‘Everyone has to be on top of their game. We can’t carry any passengers in a game of this magnitude.
‘We have to be right up for it. I’m sure we will be.
‘We have to train well, be prepared for it and make sure we’re focused.’