Four Pompey fans share their thoughts ahead of meeting Plymouth Argyle in the League 2 play-off semi-finals.
We all know that the so-called “Dockyard Derby” is not a derby at all. But in terms of attendance and support, Pompey and Plymouth are the two biggest teams in League Two and our fans and theirs have regularly been exchanging not-so-good-natured banter all season long. I thought Argyle had risen above all this when I visited their club home page recently and was surprised to find an article entitled ‘A Tribute to Pompey’. But it wasn’t a salute to our great club. It was just a promotion for Tribute ale. So, sod Plymouth! I think they envy us as a club.
I don’t think the supposed home advantage in the second leg matters a fig. On their day, this Pompey side have the ability to knock several past decent opposition and I’m confident that – buoyed on by home support – the boys won’t bottle it and this will be the case on Thursday.
Having said that, Plymouth have some quality including a good keeper and are hard to break down. But their target man Reuben Reid has been dogged by injury this season. From what I know of him, their other threat up front Jake Jervis likes running on to balls over the top rather than holding it up. As long as Pompey suss this out and neutralise accordingly, I’m confident we can net a couple with no reply. Cookie, Chaplin deserves more than his customary three minutes at the end! I’ll be watching at home in Liverpool on a dodgy stream with some tinnies!
Harrison Dunks from PST Next Generations group
Nerves are finally starting to set in now, with just over 24 hours remaining until it all kicks off at Fratton Park under the lights. Although it’s fortunate that I will actually be there on Thursday, as I only remembered to order my tickets at 7pm on Sunday evening!
I must admit I do have a good feeling heading towards the play offs, since day one I’ve had a feeling that Cook would take us up (although my feeling was for automatic, I’m more than happy with the play offs after a turbulent year to say the least!) There’s something about this year and group which just feels successful, it might be the attractive football, or the strong mentality that Cook and his backroom staff have brought into the club.
Maybe being involved with the Pompey Supporters Trust Next Generations group has shown me the amount of positivity and hard work behind the scenes going on, and knowing the club is in safe hands after a few years of a relatively weak mentality forming around the club both on and off the pitch. But I can definitely see us progressing past Plymouth and playing back at our second home in the final. One thing is for sure, it won’t be easy. Especially looking back to the last home game to Plymouth, taking things for granted and getting complacent will cost us the chance to return to Wembley.
I think both games will be a good advert for League Two, with both teams playing attractive football, and both sides having a strong mentality going throughout the side (looking back to the home game against Plymouth for them, and the likes of Dagenham away for Pompey which shows the steel and belief in this side). The side I would start with on Thursday night would be as follows:
Jones (if fit)
Bennett (if fit, if not Naismith)
I think one thing Pompey have which will be of huge benefit is the squad depth. If losing we have options on the bench such as McGurk, Tollitt, and of course the lad with an unbelievable strike ratio in Conor Chaplin. Add Wilkinson, either Bennett or Naismith to this and you have people who can make a change. As well as options defensively, like Close, Webbo, & Clarke.
I’ll be watching the first leg from the Fratton End, and the second from the Shepherds Crook full of Pompey hopefully securing a trip to Wembley in the process. I’m going for a 2-1 win in the home leg, with Roberts & McNulty scoring, and a 1-1 draw with Roberts again bagging the equaliser which will send us through on aggregate. Play Up Pompey!
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Thursday will go like this. I am national chair for an organisation called the Institute of Water. Thursday and Friday is our National Conference in Birmingham. So Thursday i will open conference ….. around 330ish in afternoon make mad dash down to Pompey picking up son in Waterlooville and say hi to wife and younger son. At this stage will be full of hope ….. 90 mins later depressed.
Hour later after finally getting out of city will drop off son and say hello and goodbye to wife. Drink copious amounts of red bull and drive back up to Birmingham going over the game in my head and get in around 230ish. 9am open second day of conference and try and forgot what happened the night before ……Play Up Pompey!
The play offs will begin for me Thursday night as I sit in my Fratton End seat where unfortunately I believe we will come close, but narrowly lose 1-0 to Plymouth.
I will then be making the journey to Plymouth via coach on Sunday, leaving Fratton Park at 10:30am, 7 and a half hours before kick off! I believe we will be victorious by 2 goals to nil.
This is how I think we should line up for both legs providing we are suspension and injury free:
Whatmough (Clarke or Webster if fit)
Wilkinson (McNulty if fit)
Come on Pompey! We can do this!
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