Time to rise to big Fratton occasion

Michael Drennan. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Drennan. Picture: Joe Pepler

MICHAEL DRENNAN has demanded Pompey rise to the occasion of playing at a packed Fratton Park.

The Blues are heading towards a sell-out for Saturday’s survival showdown with Bristol Rovers.

And Drennan has called on his team to use the energy of a vibrant home crowd to carry them over the finish line to League Two safety.

Over 17,000 tickets have been sold for the meeting with The Gas, as Andy Awford instils a renewed belief into his team.

That has resulted in three wins on the bounce and Pompey’s best form since 2011.

With the current capacity 18,200, Fratton Park looks set to be full for the penultimate home game of the campaign.

Rovers will be backed by big following and have sold 2,220 tickets for a game which is critical to their own hopes of staying in the Football League.

Pompey’s two previous biggest gates of the season have proved anti-climatic.

The opening-day clash with Oxford saw Guy Whittingham’s side thumped 4-1, while Richie Barker’s team barely created a chance in the 0-0 draw with Cheltenham in March.

Drennan now wants to see a resurgent Pompey deliver for their fans on home soil.

He said: ‘The confidence is flying and the win against Dagenham & Redbridge will carry us forward that bit more.

‘The new gaffer has given us great belief and we keep winning because of it.

‘We need to keep going and finish as high as we can.

‘There will probably be 17,000 fans there on Saturday, so we have to use that in a way that it gives us a great boost.

‘It’s great and it boosts everyone around the club.

‘It makes you want to go out and show them what you can do.

‘They pay a lot of money to follow us, so we have to repay them.

‘We have that belief now. The manager has given us that.

‘It’s a team effort and he’s drilling that into us.

‘He is making sure we believe in ourselves.

‘So we need to do it for the fans.’

Nine points from a possible nine has propelled Pompey to 16th in the table with three games left.

But the gap to the relegation places remains five points, with Northampton putting together back-to-back wins.

Drennan believes victory on Saturday will ensure Pompey’s safety.

He said: ‘If we win against Bristol Rovers I think we will be safe.

‘The rest of our games will then be for next season.

‘We need to push on because we can’t have any other slack performances like before.

‘Every footballer wants to win every game.

‘If you don’t want to win every game you shouldn’t be in football.

‘It will be a good occasion, so it’s one we have to make sure we win.’