Shaun Derry relishing return to ‘wonderful’ Pompey

Cambridge United manager Shaun Derry

Cambridge United manager Shaun Derry

  • Shaun Derry played 55 times for Pompey, scoring once, before his August 2002 departure
  • The 38-year-old took over from Richard Money as Cambridge boss in November
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Shaun Derry limbered up for his Fratton Park reunion and admitted: Pompey is a wonderful club.

The former Blues midfielder brings his improving Cambridge United side to the south coast on Saturday.

Portsmouth have 15 games to play. If they can get back the consistency they had early in the campaign it looks like it will be a successful season

Shaun Derry

Derry spent two-and-a-half seasons with Pompey, making 55 appearances before he was sold by Harry Redknapp to Crystal Palace in August 2002.

This weekend will represent only the fourth time he has been back to Fratton Park in those subsequent 13-and-a-half years.

Yet he has fond memories of his Pompey days as a tough-tackling midfielder and living at Port Solent.

And the 38-year-old is relishing returning to take on a Blues side currently suffering a worrying dip.

He told The News: ‘To bring a team back to Fratton Park as manager is fantastic for me, I can’t wait for the game.

‘The time has gone so quickly but the memories I have of Portsmouth in particular will forever be etched in my memory. It’s a wonderful football club.

‘They are good memories without a doubt. I had a great two-and-a-half years there.

‘Playing in the Championship is obviously different to the level the fans are watching at the minute, yet we still had our troubles back then!

‘But at the same time it’s a football club very much represented by the fans and Portsmouth have so many fantastic supporters they will always be a big football club.

‘I enjoyed the atmosphere at Fratton Park as a player.

‘When things are going half-well the fans get right behind you and on the flipside it can be a difficult environment when things aren’t going very well.

‘That is what happens when you represent a big club.

‘I was very close to coming back in the summer of 2012 when Michael Appleton was manager. I was going to join.

‘Then it just went very quiet and I kind of put two and two together and realised it coincided with a lot of upheaval.

‘Now I’m boss at Cambridge and we will be going there in a confident mood.

‘We have had good away form of late and will be coming to put on a performance, that’s for sure.’

Derry took over from Richard Money at the Abbey Stadium in November. And he was in attendance at The Hive on Tuesday night to take in Pompey’s dismal 1-0 defeat.

He added: ‘I just think League Two is a really difficult level and cannot see how anybody can say they have a divine right to win games.

‘Portsmouth were up against a Barnet team which really wanted to win themselves.

‘Martin Allen sides play on the front foot.

‘Paul Cook and everybody connected with Portsmouth will be disappointed they are going through this little patch at the minute.

‘But they have 15 games to play. If they can get back the consistency they had early in the campaign it looks like it will be a successful season.’