Pompey v Plymouth: The Opposition View

Former Pompey defender Sonny Bradley has a word with Peterborough forward Marcus Maddison    Picture: Joe Dent
Former Pompey defender Sonny Bradley has a word with Peterborough forward Marcus Maddison Picture: Joe Dent
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This is a game Argyle fans look forward to.

It’s a good occasion, a great ground to go to with a big atmosphere and crowd.

I get the impression the Portsmouth fans don’t really see it as a derby. I’m not saying Argyle fans see it as a derby, but there’s definitely a rivalry there because of the past few seasons.

You can quibble about whether it’s the Dockyard Derby, battle of the ports or just another game. I think most people would agree, though, a good healthy rivalry between two naval cities has developed. That’s a good thing.

Everyone enjoys it. Argyle usually take a large support into the Milton End, just as Portsmouth always fill out the Barn Park End at Home Park.

Not being in the same division as Exeter this season, this is probably the closest Argyle get to a derby match. In fact, it is the closest they get.

In terms of form, there was a run of eight defeats in nine in the league which was pretty difficult. Derek Adams has done a really good job in his first two years here, though, and had quite a lot of credit in the bank.

A lot of managers would’ve been under pressure or out of a job. Derek was always likely to be given time to turn things around.

No one is getting carried away by one defeat in seven - with three wins, three draws and a defeat - but it’s clearly a major improvement.

There’s a few ex-Pompey players dotted around the place here. Sonny Bradley scored both of the goals in the win over Northampton on Tuesday. That was really important after losing 4-0 to Oxford, and a response was needed.

Sonny was player of the year last season for Argyle, but like quite of the few of the squad wasn’t at his best in the first month or two of the season. He’s really picked up, though, and was outstanding in the win at Bradford a couple of weeks ago.

Jake Jervis has played as a striker quite regularly with Ryan Taylor being out all season with a broken ankle, after playing wide right quite a lot in his time here.

Toumani Diagouraga signed as a free agent in the middle of October, and was a good bit of business. He’s an experienced ball-winner whose arrival has coincided with the upturn in form.

Nadir Ciftci came in mid-August, played 13 games and didn’t score. He dropped out of the team and picked up an injury, but was back on the bench on Tuesday.

It’s not worked out for him or Argyle so far but you don’t get signed by Celtic for £1.5m and handed a four-year contract if you don’t have ability.

Graham Carey wasn’t on form, but kicked into action in October when he won League One’s player-of-the-month award - which takes some doing when your side is bottom of the table.

No matter what you want to call it - this will be an occasion to enjoy.