Pompey boss looking forward to Cup clash with an edge

Michael Smith scored Pompeys first goal in their 3-1 victory over Luton at Kenilworth Road last season

KENNY JACKETT is looking forward to an FA Cup ding-dong battle with Luton.

The Pompey boss is anticipating a fiercely-competitive clash with the Hatters as they kick off their campaign in the famous, old competition tomorrow.

Former Millwall manager Kenny Jackett, left, and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez on the touchline at Wembley for their sides FA Cup semi-final clash in April 2013

The trip to Kenilworth Road has the makings of a feisty encounter as the Blues renew acquaintances with their rivals from last season.

Pompey picked up two wins over the Hatters in keenly-contested affairs on the way to winning the League Two title.

Nathan Jones’ side missed out on automatic promotion, before being left floored by a last-minute goal in their play-off loss to Blackpool.

Luton have started strongly this time around, however, with a nine-game unbeaten run coming to a close against Coventry last weekend.

That saw them knocked off top spot, but the goals have been coming from all angles this season from the likes of Danny Hylton and James Collins.

The scene is set for a lively affair – and that’s something which whets Jackett’s appetite.

He said: ‘It’s a game I view positively.

‘It will be a quite evenly-matched game and it will be closely contested.

‘Both sides were in the same division last year and will know each other quite well.

‘Andy Awford is head of youth there and seems to spend more time at our games than theirs!

‘It’s a game I view positively and a competition I want to do well in.

‘There’s a risk to injuries but we’ve had a free week this week and there’s the chance to change things around for the Checkatrade.

‘Whether it’s your priority or not, playing well and the team doing well is something we want.

‘It’s a tough game for us in the first round of the FA Cup.

‘It’s a good game and it will be a great atmosphere with our fans contributing and getting behind our team.

‘It will be a great atmosphere and, as a big club, we want these games and big atmospheres where there’s an edge.

‘You don’t want it be low key. It’s a big challenge and winning’s not necessarily harder but games get tighter.

‘Your margins are tighter and we’ll need to be better.’

Jackett has a decent history in the competition – and reached the semi-final at Wembley with Millwall in 2013.

He feels the FA Cup carries a special allure – especially for sides outside of the Premier League.

And he knows it still remains a special event for supporters.

Jackett added: ‘For clubs down the pyramid, having an FA Cup run is a good thing.

‘What is clear at all clubs is how much the FA Cup means to supporters.

‘You always get a good turnout in the FA Cup. It’s a bit special, it’s a big day and a big game for supporters.

‘It creates strong feelings at different levels of the game.

‘Maybe the pressure of the Premier League has diminished cup competitions from what they were.

‘But for the majority of the pyramid it’s a competition we’re all desperate to do well in.’

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