Portsmouth keeper Craig MacGillivray can't wait to sample 'fiery' Fratton bearpit which awaits Southampton in south coast derby

Pompey's Craig MacGillivray.
Pompey's Craig MacGillivray.
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Craig MacGillivray is expecting to experience Fratton Park as he’s never seen it before as Pompey renew their rivalry with Southampton.

But the Blues keeper believes his team need to guard against the distraction of all the noise being made about the first south coast derby in seven years, as the fierce rivals prepare to renew acquaintances next month.

The Carabao Cup third-round match has been fixed for Tuesday, September 24 at 7.45pm and will be shown on Sky Sports. 

It will be the first competitive meeting with the club from along the M27 under the Fratton lights since 1976, and is certain to prove a spine-tingling occasion.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the game is ‘not that interesting’ to his players, a sentiment forwarded when speaking about the match on Thursday.

But it’s not one echoed by MacGillivray, who can’t wait to sample the occasion as Pompey bid to extend their run of being unbeaten against their rivals for 14 years.

MacGillivray has witnessed some strong Fratton atmospheres since arriving from Shrewsbury a year ago, but the 26-year-old expects the bar to be raised with a bearpit awaiting Southampton.

And he knows his side have to react to that by delivering a result the Fratton faithful crave.

He said: ‘I’m not from the area but there’s been a lot of talk already and it sounds like it can get a little bit feisty, to say the least!

‘When it comes around I’m sure it will be a fantastic occasion, that’s for sure.

‘I’ve seen Fratton Park sold out and stuff like that, but I’ve not experienced a derby.

‘I know a lot about it, you hear the stories and it sounds manic.

‘It will be a fantastic occasion and hopefully we can get one over them.

‘I’m sure it will get feisty, there’s no denying that.

‘A derby is a derby, it’s going to be feisty and fiery - but ultimately it’s a game of football we need to win.’

If the Southend game is given the go-ahead next weekend, Pompey still have five games to play before the Southampton clash takes place.

And that is fact that’s not lost on MacGillivray, who feels it’s crucial Jackett’s team maintain focus in that time.

After an indifferent league start, it’s of paramount importance to the keeper the Blues inject momentum into their bid for promotion.

MacGillivray added: ‘There’s a few games before the cup match and the league is the priority, without a shadow of a doubt.

‘We can’t get distracted by it, so it’s literally each game as it comes.

‘We’re thinking about the three points and wins in the games ahead first.’