JACK WHATMOUGH returns to the scene of one of his Pompey lows seeking to bolster escalating promotion aspirations.
The Blues’ last visit to Spotland yielded a 3-0 defeat and marked Richie Barker’s final game in charge.
Whatmough, whose dad hails from Rochdale, lined-up in midfield for that March 2014 encounter which left the visitors 22nd in League Two.
Ultimately, Andy Awford stepped in as caretaker boss to preserve Pompey’s Football League status.
Whatmough will again be in the Blues’ side tomorrow, although this time the team are gazing towards the play-offs rather than over their shoulders.
Certainly it is a very different Pompey taking on the Dale.
My family are a five minute walk from the ground, so my cousins – who support Rochdale – and their kids will go downJack Whatmough
He said: ‘Our last visit was a tough time for the club and the situation we were in.
‘The manager’s position was under threat so at that stage we went into games worrying if we were going to have a boss afterwards.
‘Whereas this time we are going there with loads of confidence, in a healthy position and pushing for the play-offs.
‘Rochdale are fighting to stay in the league and we are fighting to get into the play-offs, it’s going to be a tough game and a battle we are going to be ready for.
‘Thinking back four years ago, it was after a Fleetwood game, before Rochdale, that Richie told the boys he thought he was going to get the sack.
‘Everyone knew it and after Rochdale it was a quiet journey back on the coach. The lads were talking about it and I just kept my mouth shut, that’s where you learn what happens in football.
‘Now we go back there – and in the process of finishing the season strongly.
‘There have probably been times when people have written us off altogether, such as after Blackpool.
‘Then it comes to Monday with that massive result (against Wigan) and it’s all lifted again.
‘Everything in football can change in a matter of games and we have turned our season around.
‘We must build on that strong finish at Spotland and get another three points to put ourselves into a big position.’
Whatmough has started Pompey’s last five matches, cementing a return to the side following serious injury.
Partnering Matt Clarke in the centre of defence, the young pairing have been outstanding during four successive victories.
And there will be a real Whatmough family feel at Spotland for tomorrow’s encounter, with dad Gaz having come from the area.
The defender added: ‘My dad is from Rochdale and a Man City fan. He was in the Marines so came down to the south coast and met my mum.
‘His family are a five minute walk from the ground, so my cousins – who support Rochdale – and their kids will go down. Hopefully my nan and grandad can come as well to watch.’