Pompey v Exeter City: Blues out to topple ’Arry’s heroes

Jayden Stockley. Picture: Joe Pepler
Jayden Stockley. Picture: Joe Pepler
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THEY were one of the most formidable sides in Pompey’s history.

But tonight the class of 2015 can topple Harry Redknapp’s title-winning heroes of 2003.

Hopefully it’s one of a few records that this team can set.

Jayden Stockley

Avoiding defeat to Exeter City will make it a 10-game unbeaten start to the campaign.

And that will leave the nine-game run put together by Redknapp’s Division One champions at the start of the 2002-03 season in the shade.

Their run came to an end with a 1-0 loss at Norwich with Iwan Roberts getting the only goal of the game nine minutes from time.

You have to go back 31 years for the last time Pompey’s start stretched to 10 unbeaten games.

Alan Ball’s side of 1984-85 lost out to Wimbledon at the 11th time of asking, as they eventually missed out on promotion to the top flight on goal difference to Manchester City.

Jayden Stockley knows the esteem Redknapp’s side were held in – and the significance of the record.

He hopes setting a new mark is achieved and isn’t the only landmark set by Paul Cook’s men this season.

Stockley said: ‘That’ll be nice (to beat the run set in 2002-03)

‘Hopefully it’s one of a few records that this team can set.

‘It’s a nice comparison to have obviously with such a good side. The spirit in the team is strong and everyone gets on and are willing.

‘It’s great to be a part of it. Everyone will have their moments because there’s so much quality in the squad. We are going to need everyone.

‘It’s a nice little record to have. The main point is to make sure we keep picking up points, though – then when these records come along it’s great.’

Pompey take on an Exeter side who have had a mixed start to the season.

The Grecians have lost the last two games with a three-match winning run arriving previously.

A 4-0 win over high-flying Leyton Orient came in that period, as well as a 2-0 success over Pompey in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

Paul Tisdale has built a reputation for playing an expansive game in a lengthy stint as manager.

Only Arsene Wenger in the top four divisions of the English game beats his nine-year period in charge at St James Park.

Tisdale’s desire to play a passing game is clearly defined and that leads Stockley to believe tonight’s game will be one which is entertaining on the eye.

He said: ‘Exeter play excellent football and, hopefully, it should be an entertaining game.

‘We go into it like we approach every game. We go into it hard and with our confidence high after Saturday.

‘We’ll study the way they play and focus on doing our jobs.

‘It’s hard to call how teams will play in this league. You expect one thing and it ends up being another.

‘It’s each to their own but it’s up to us to find a plan A and plan B for teams and their approaches.

‘We’ll look at it and hopefully find a way to succeed and pick up the three points.’