Eddie Howe was unable to reveal the secrets of Bournemouth’s remarkable surge – after Guy Whittingham asked him.
The caretaker Blues boss has yet to lead his side to victory since taking over from Michael Appleton back in November.
But it’s been a very different story for former Pompey defender Howe, who has fired the Cherries into the League One promotion mix since returning to the club from Burnley.
Whittingham said: ‘They have done tremendously well under Eddie.
‘It was a fantastic move by Bournemouth to bring him back to the club.
‘He’s Bournemouth through and through, he knows the club inside out and he has worked wonders there.
‘I’ve asked him what the secret is and he wouldn’t tell me!
‘He said there wasn’t one.
‘But he’s been through the really tough times during his first spell as manager.
‘Then he has been there for the second time and gone into a great situation, but that doesn’t make it easier. If anything, there is more pressure on you to do well because you’ve got the backing then.
‘That’s why I admire the way he has gone about his business and how well he’s done.’
While it is a south coast derby of sorts, there is no real ill-feeling or intense rivalry between the clubs.
But it will be Pompey’s first competitive visit to Dean Court since October 1989 – when a certain Whittingham struck the only goal of the game in a 1-0 win for Pompey.
‘I don’t think you can compare them to the Southampton games but they are still our local rivals and we’ve certainly had some battles with them over the years,’ said Whittingham.
‘We’re looking forward to another one.’
Bournemouth are overwhelming favourites to win tomorrow, with Pompey priced at huge odds to end their 18-match winless run. But Whittingham believes his side can beat the odds.
He said: ‘It’s a really tough ask for us because they are going really well. They are in great form.
‘It’s important we pick the lads up and go there thinking we can win the game – that’s the most important thing.’