Pompey set for another port dust-up with League Two rivals

Gary Roberts scores against Plymouth at Fratton Park back in April Picture: Joe Pepler
Gary Roberts scores against Plymouth at Fratton Park back in April Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY have been challenged to rise to the occasion of a crackling port showdown.

The Blues renew acquaintances with Plymouth at what is set to be a packed Fratton Park on Saturday.

Pompey keeper Luke McGee Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey keeper Luke McGee Picture: Joe Pepler

The clash is a sellout for home fans as the two sides lock horns again, with their rivalry increasing in recent seasons.

There’s been six meetings over the past two campaigns, with that familiarity breeding a fair degree of contempt between the two camps.

It was Plymouth who came out on top in the League Two play-offs at the end of the 2015-16 campaign.

Paul Cook’s men enjoyed final-day success last term, however, as they pipped the Pilgrims to the title on the final day in dramatic fashion.

Kenny Jackett will get to sample the clash for the first time as Pompey manager this weekend.

Keeper Luke McGee will be doing likewise following his summer arrival from Spurs.

And the 22-year-old is looking for cool heads from his team-mates against Derek Adams’ side.

He said: ‘I’m looking forward to the occasion and looking forward to performing in front of the fans. Hopefully we can give them something to cheer about on the day.

‘It’s a big game, but we have to stick to our game plan and focus on what the gaffer wants us to do. We tend to do that quite well.

‘The gaffer has been so successful at other clubs so we have to believe in him. We know how he wants us to play, so we have to stick to that.

‘We’ll have the advantage with being at home and the fans being behind us.

‘There’s no other stadium, especially in this league, like ours with the fans behind us. That’s only going to help us.’

The Blues go into the game with their fluctuating form continuing after a midweek defeat against Peterborough.

Adams’ side have won four and drawn one of their past six in all competitions, but are still second from bottom after a run of 12 League One games without a win from August to October.

It’s Pompey who’ve adjusted better to life at the higher level – but McGee is looking for more.

He added: ‘It’s a credit to us to come up into the division and saying we want to be higher than we are.

‘But it’s the final detail we need to put together. Hopefully we can do that.

‘It’s going to be a tough challenge but we don’t fear anyone.

‘We’re not a team who wants to sit back and defend.’

– JORDAN CROSS