2007-08 saw contrasting ends to the season for Mansfield and Portsmouth, whilst the Stags dropped through the trapdoor into the conference, Portsmouth were crowned winners of the FA Cup after beating Cardiff City by a solitary goal.
The contrast at the end of the season couldn’t have been more wide spread as Stags saw heartbreak and then Premier League Pompey saw jubilation – tomorrow though the two teams lock horns in a league fixtures, despite the contrasting histories of the two clubs, for me it’s battle on a level playing field.
Everything happens for a reason and the two clubs are in the current standing for a reason – Portsmouth are a long way from the Premier League with well documented money issues seeing them fall so far whilst Stags have bravely risen, I hope tomorrow will see the two clubs cast as equals and Paul Cox’s men can kick on and claim another three points.
Naturally Portsmouth will prove a tough test as Guy Whittingham’s men look to bounce back up the league ladder, in similar fashion to Cox’s Stags Pompey lost their opening two fixtures before grabbing a draw and then registered their first league two win last weekend, seeing off Morecambe on home soil.
Ollie Palmer’s strike at Wycombe last weekend got Stags up and running and with the reserve team’s victory during the week, spirits seems to be high at the One Call Stadium again. Portsmouth will undoubtedly bring a big fan base tomorrow so like the back end of the previous two seasons, it’s up to us to sing loud and make the OCS a fortress once again.
The tabloid writers will always fancy ex Premier League Pompey over Conference Climbers Stags, we all know that the noise we create spurs on our fire – when we burn, we burn! On one hand it’s a chance to show the watching world that we can compete with those dubbed as giants, on the other it’s another league game with another three points up for grabs.
Paul Cox has a healthy and hungry squad, were certainly due the sort of results and form we’ve come to expect and know post Christmas. We’ve all wondered what a danger we’d be if that magic began early, well maybe it’s time to turn though into reality… watch this space!
LAST TIME WE MET
The only other documented meeting between the pair comes back in 1976-77 season. Both clubs were playing in the old division three, Stags took all three points at Field Mill with a 2-0 victory whilst at Fratton Park, the match finished 2-2.
Paul Cox will again be without Keiran Murtagh ahead of tomorrow’s match, the midfielder is joined on the side lines by goalkeeper Ian Deakin but apart from the pair, it looks as if Cox has a full rota of players to choose from.
Ryan Tafazolli, John McCombe and Junior Daniel all grabbed 90 minutes for the reserves midweek whilst impressive performances from Lindon Meikle and Ross Dyer could put them in the frame for a start.
Portsmouth boss Whittingham welcomes skipper Johnny Ertl back from suspension whilst Tom Craddock and Ashley Harris could miss out with a groin and calf problem respectively.
Written by Craig Priest
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