Pompey players and fans have special bond – Paul Jewell

PAUL Jewell believes Portsmouth’s financial troubles – which could see them plunge into administration by the end of the week – has created a special bond between players and supporters.

But he has called on his Town side to rise above what should be an emotionally-charged atmosphere at Fratton Park tonight when the two teams meet (7.45pm ko).

Jewell explained: “Every time I’ve been to Portsmouth the supporters have been up for it.

“I remember going there with Bradford, we were 3-0 up at half-time but you’d have thought they were the team winning 3-0 – they just never stop singing.

“They’ve been through an awful lot over the past few years and that’s created a bond between the players and the supporters I think. They’ve almost used that as a coming together.

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“We know it’s going to be a difficult atmosphere for us down there, but we have to stand up to it.”

The sub-plots for tonight’s league match continue with Town coming face-to-face with three players Jewell courted throughout the January transfer window – Jason Pearce, Joel Ward and Stephen Henderson.

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All three are expected to start for Pompey tonight after rejecting Town’s advances right up to deadline day.

Jewell said: “They have a lot of good players Portsmouth and it’s been well documented that we made bids for some of them.

“It didn’t happen, that’s football, that’s life, everybody moves on – they move on, we move on. I’m not the first manager who hasn’t got players they’ve made an offer for.”

Jewell also reserved special praise for Pompey boss Michael Appleton whose first taste of football management has seen him step straight into a cauldron within months of taking over,

The Town boss said: “I’ve been really impressed with way he’s handled the situation. He’s never hidden away from any question, the way I see it.

“He’s gone from being assistant manager at West Brom to finding himself in a right pickle of a situation.

“He’s probably learnt more about the game in the last three or four months than he ever thought he would. I think he’s held himself together really well.

“They’ve got good players, have got a good shape about them, a blend of youth and experience. I think their manager has done a great job there in difficult circumstances. It will be a tough game.”

- Follow @Stuart_Watson and @Carl_Marston on Twitter for all the news, reports and reaction from Fratton Park tonight

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