Ricardo versus Ricardo as Portuguese pals battle it out

Ricardo moved to Leicester in January
Ricardo moved to Leicester in January
Nathan Thompson in action against Scunthorpe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Defender gives Pompey boss flexible options

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Portuguese friends will be reunited at the Walkers Stadium tomorrow.

Defender Ricardo Rocha will go up against his pal Ricardo as Pompey aim to keep up their faint play-off hopes.

The Foxes keeper has made seven appearances since being signed by Sven-Goran Eriksson from Real Betis in January.

The 35-year-old will be remembered by English fans as the man between the sticks who foiled the Three Lions in Euro 2004 and the World Cup two years later.

Rocha knows he will be a hard man for the Blues to stick the ball past.

He said: ‘Ricardo is at Leicester now.

‘We played together for the national team.

‘He is a very good goalkeeper. He didn’t get much of a chance in Spain but, with Eriksson, he will find a way to show he is on form.

‘Everybody looks at the Championship and it’s a very difficult league.

‘Some very good players play here. It’s a good thing for him to come here and know the game in England.’

Pompey have had a rare week without a midweek game as they catch their breath following a frenetic period.

It will be a tough test against a Foxes side who have been flying up the table after their early-season struggles.

Rocha is someone who hasn’t been surprised by their progress, though.

He said: ‘We have time to rest but we have a difficult and important game at Leicester.

‘They are a very good team and we have to recover and get ready for that one.

‘This league is unbelievable – you never know what’s going to happen.

‘Teams who were at the bottom start winning games and doing well.

‘They have so many strong players and so many well-known players now. All of their team is good and I don’t like to put any individual above any other player. But they are a strong team.’

Pompey fans will remember the 6-1 demolition of Leicester back in September as, arguably, the highlight of the season.

That result marked their first success of the campaign and heralded the start of 19 points from a possible 21.

Rocha is expecting a different game tomorrow, but knows the Foxes will still have strong memories of a night they would like to bury.

He said: ‘It’s a good stadium to play at, a good team and a good pitch and it will be a nice game to watch.

‘It was a good win for us when we played them earlier in the season and they will remember that.

‘They will want to do their best to forget about it, though.

‘We’ll go there and play our game and try to get a win.’