Tom Grice expecting 'big things' as US Portsmouth prepare for Alresford trip on back of dismal FA Cup exit to Alton

Tom Grice has demanded a response from his US Portsmouth troops at Alresford this weekend after an abject showing in their FA Cup defeat at the hands of Alton last time out.

By Lewis Mason
Thursday, 12th August 2021, 12:09 pm
US Portsmouth goalkeeper Lewis Boughton, left, is currently ruled out with a broken nose. Picture: Keith Woodland (170721-222)
US Portsmouth goalkeeper Lewis Boughton, left, is currently ruled out with a broken nose. Picture: Keith Woodland (170721-222)

Grice told how he gathered his players for a chat at training on Tuesday and is now expecting 'big things' as his side prepare to return to league action at Alresford on Saturday.

He remains under no illusions how tough this season will be for US Portsmouth after gaining promotion to the Wessex Premier as part of the FA's non-league restructure in the summer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

But Grice remains confident his squad has more than enough quality to remain in the division this term - and he is hoping USP can at least put on a performance on the road at Alresford.

He said: ‘We got the lads in on Tuesday for training, we had a bit of a chat, and I’m expecting big things.

‘At the end of the day, Alresford are a very, very strong team, the past few years they’ve been in and amongst it so it’s going to be a tough, difficult game.

‘They’re going to be young, full of energy, I just want ourselves to give a good account of ourselves, which is not what we did at the weekend.

‘I can take losing, I’ve said it before, I can’t take losing to the better team but not in the manner that we lost last weekend. I’m expecting a bit of bouncebackability this weekend. In the same breath, it’s going to be a tough game, so we’ll face a tough test.’

US Portsmouth were pushing for promotion in the past two coronavirus pandemic shortened seasons under former boss Glenn Turnbull and reached last season's FA Vase semi-final.

However, with USP gaining promotion to the Wessex Premier this term, Grice admitted those still at the club from previous campaigns and his summer recruits must get used to 'not winning the same amount of games' as they might have been accustomed to in years gone by.

But, having pushed for promotion to step five for so long, the USP boss remains confident they will retain their Wessex Premier status come the end of the campaign.

Grice said: ‘I think what the lads have got to get into their mindset, especially the lads who were here last season - this isn’t a slight - but we’re not going to be winning the same amount of games as we were last season, it’s a simple fact. That’s not being negative, that’s just stating fact.

‘I’ve been told by quite a few of the local managers, it does ring true, it’s about not being too high when you win and not being too low when you lose.

‘Ultimately we’re not going to be winning as many games as last season, it’s simple facts, it’s just about taking the positives when we can, try to set up to be hard to break down and give account of ourselves week-in, week-out and that’s all I ask of my players.

‘It’s about framing expectations of right, this is where we are, our main objective this season is to continue to be a Wessex Premier team, which I genuinely believe we’ve got the players to do that, I’m looking forward now to the weekend at Alresford and then at home to Horndean on Tuesday.’

Goalkeeper Lewis Boughton is ruled out of US Portsmouth’s trip to Alresford with a broken nose sustained in the FA Cup defeat against Alton last weekend.

Stopper Damian Kelsall is set to step up to first-team duty in his absence, while both Liam Kyle and Luke Richards (both hamstring) will also miss the trip to Alresford.