McKenna and Town players 'excited' for big Pompey clash in front of 25,000 fans
- Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com
Boss Kieran McKenna is excited to see what his side can do when Ipswich Town take on Portsmouth this weekend.
The game at Portman Road sees two in-form teams go head-to-head, as both continue their fight to climb the table and break into the League One play-off places.
Portsmouth have won six of their last seven matches while McKenna’s men have won five of his six games at home, while also keeping clean sheets in 10 of his 14 matches at the helm.
“I’m really looking forward to the game, I really am,” McKenna said.
“It’s two teams in form, two teams picking up points and a really big game for both teams.
“I'm excited and the players are excited for the game. You can feel that they know it’s a really good game for us, but to be honest they’ve been excited for every game, they were excited for Fleetwood away, so that’s been a pleasing thing.
“We’ve been insistent that every game is three points, to respect every opponent, no game is bigger than any other game - yet. That’s been our approach to every game.
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“We’ve done the same for this one, we’ve looked at it with exactly the same process as we do all games, we won’t build it up any more than it is, there are still nine games left, there are lots of points to play for, nothing is going to be decided on Saturday.
“I think they’re excited because they know it’s a good team in good form and we feel like we’re in good form and we’re becoming a good team. The players want to test themselves.
“I said after the Fleetwood game that we’re going to see where we’re at. And this is another game where it’s against one of the better teams in the league who are coming here in good form. But we’re in good form, we’re at home and we’ll see where we’re at in terms our development as a team.”
Town slapped Portsmouth 4-0 at Fratton Park earlier in the season, under Paul Cook’s management, but McKenna doesn’t see that result holding any real relevance when it comes to the reverse fixture.
“Every game in this league lives its own life,” he said. The first game doesn’t have much influence on it and every game can go one way or the other. We’ll concentrate on performance, doing our jobs and executing our gameplan.
“We’re very aware of what Portsmouth do as a team and how we have to try and counteract that, but we’ll just focus on getting the performance right and, if we do that, it should take care of itself.”
A crowd of 25,000 is expected at Portman Road, with McKenna convinced the club’s supporters have a real role to play.
“Credit to the way they’re coming out in numbers and we know that in a game like this or some of the games coming up, it’s going to be important,” he said.
“There’s going to be some stage where we’re going to be behind in a game, where we’re not going to be ahead in the game at a late point where we really need that extra support and that extra backing and that extra energy from the crowd.
“With the numbers that we get and with the support that they’re giving the team at the moment, we know that they’re going to be there for us in that difficult moment and when we need it. We think that will help the players find the extra energy they need to turn a result in our favour.
“The players are looking forward to it, it’s certainly a privilege at the moment, enjoying that privilege of having such a good crowd and I’m sure it’ll give us a good boost on Saturday.”