BOTH Kenny Jackett and Steve Seddon are warning the Portsmouth players they’ll be facing a very different Fleetwood side from the one they beat 2-1 in the FA Cup seven weeks ago.
The clash at the Highbury Stadium on January 4 was the start of Pompey’s record-breaking nine-game winning run, and Seddon’s first game for the side since his loan move from Birmingham City.
Joey Barton’s team have put together their own run since then, losing just once in nine games, winning their last four games in the league including victories over Wycombe and Peterborough. Their run has put them just two points behind Jackett’s side in the table, and Saturday’s match-up is the League One game of the weekend.
“We’ve been there once before in the FA Cup and got a win, but they have a strong team and are competing with us in the league,” said Jackett, who will have both Andy Cannon and Ellis Harrison available for the game.
“Nobody here is underestimating them because the job that Joey Barton and Clint Hill have done there is outstanding.
“You always know it will be difficult against one of your rivals – in terms of where the sides are in the table – and we have to get our own performance right.”
Nothing less than a victory for Portsmouth will be enough to ensure they stay in the top six, with Ipswich and Saturday’s opponents hunting down the play-off places.
After the midweek Leasing.com Trophy win over Exeter City booked a return trip to Wembley, Seddon is relishing the fact that every game Pompey play at present is crucial to ensuring they enjoy a successful season.
“We’ve got big games coming up – home and away – and you just have to take each one as it comes along,” said Seddon, who has been a revelation since his move to Fratton Park.
“Fleetwood are next on Saturday and they’re a really strong team. Both sides will have changed a lot since meeting in the FA Cup last month.
“There’s plenty of character and resilience in our squad, including those guys who aren’t in the team at the moment.
“You’d hope that a team with those kinds of qualities will be successful, and our recent form backs that up.”
• Portsmouth fans can ensure they will be among the first to receive details for the Leasing.com Trophy Final against Salford City on Sunday, April 5 by registering their interest online to have ticketing and hospitality information sent straight to their inbox. The final means Pompey will have to find a new date for the scheduled League One clash with Bristol Rovers at Fratton Park.