Pompey’s Gallen captivated by the Fratton faithful

Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen
Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen
Pompey player Gareth Evans

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For Joe Gallen, it was a breathless introduction to Fratton Park under lights.

There had been Fulham under-21s, of course, albeit in the Checkatrade Trophy and in front of 1,520 supporters.

Brett Pitman salutes the Fratton faithful after his double against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night

Brett Pitman salutes the Fratton faithful after his double against Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night

Yet Tuesday night was the real deal.

The magnificent Fratton faithful drove on the Blues against testing opposition in the form of Bristol Rovers.

It generated the finest home atmosphere of Pompey’s season – and there was no disputing that accolade from Gallen.

The assistant manager was gushing over the noise generated from the Blues faithful, even before Oli Hawkins’ opening goal on 42 minutes.

The atmosphere was superb, I was really impressed with the volume and passion. It was the best I have heard since being here

Joe Gallen

Next, struggling Oldham tomorrow visit the south coast.

And Gallen wants his players to again inspire the supporters to raise the roof.

He said: ‘It starts from the players – not the fans.

‘The players have to get the fans energised, it’s player-led.

‘Everyone reacts to what we do on the ball.

‘We didn’t have a lot of it in the first half, in fairness, but had a team which looked hungry to play for Portsmouth.

‘And I thought the fans saw that and reacted off that.

‘Fans do like tackles, they do like chasing lost causes, they do like people being aggressive.

‘This club is a bit of a working-class club and you have to play a bit of working-class football.

‘The fans really backed the team even though we didn’t do as well on the ball as we would have liked.

‘The atmosphere was superb, I was really impressed with the volume and passion.

‘It was the best I have heard since being here.

‘Some Tuesday night games can be hard work in terms of the atmosphere, obviously not here, but at other clubs I’ve been at.

‘The home team’s fans have work in the morning – different to a Saturday – and you have to entertain them a little bit earlier and a bit quicker to get the atmosphere going.

‘Not here, though.

‘I do think they saw a team giving it everything, despite not doing great on the ball.’

There were 17,716 present to watch that victory over the Pirates.

Now Pompey have 23rd-placed Oldham in their sights.

Gallen added: ‘We have this great audience that watch us and we have to get them up on their feet and excite them. We have to get in that zone where the noise is like that.

‘Let’s be honest, it’s really difficult for the opposition team to hear the home side have that much backing from a big crowd.

‘It is a huge help in terms of winning a game.’