PORTSMOUTH is a tricky game to start the season. What makes it difficult is a tight stadium at Fratton Park where the supporters are very vocal, even when things aren’t going so well. That lifts them.
I watched them play Inter Milan in pre-season and they had good periods in the game against a good Inter side. Portsmouth went with a 4-4-2 formation and Lua Lua was their most dangerous player on that night, a typical performance from him with lots of skills and he was unfortunate not to score. He was instrumental in a lot of things.
As far as the manager Alain Perrin is concerned he’s had his first full pre-season with the team, so he’s had time to incorporate the players he wants into the system he wants to play. If I look at the names from last season, Richard Hughes in central midfield is a good all-round player, Laurent Robert has gone there from Newcastle and I think we’ve had enough experience of him to know what a threat he is. Matt Taylor at left-back strikes a good ball and will look to get forward, Andy O’Brien has also moved there from Newcastle, a player I know from Ireland and someone who is looking to play a regular amount of games this season.
It’s very important to get a good start and you don’t want to go into the fourth, fifth games of the season only having picked up minimal points. On the other side of the coin, it’s wonderful if you can pick up 10, 12 points. Everyone is sizing each other up, looking at formations and you want points on the board.
Chris Hughton offers his assessment of our opening day opponents Portsmouth as we countdown to kick-off at Fratton Park.