Stevens: Pompey haven’t forgotten Pilgrims pain

Enda Stevens surrounded by partying Plymouth fans after the play-off semi-final defeat last season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Enda Stevens surrounded by partying Plymouth fans after the play-off semi-final defeat last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Enda Stevens admitted the memory of Plymouth pain is still fresh.

But the defender told of Pompey’s thriving confidence as they head into tomorrow’s high-flying showdown at a sold-out Fratton Park.

Paul Cook’s side can move to within an inch of sealing promotion with victory in the naval port battle.

The Pilgrims can get over the line if they better Luton’s result at home to Leyton Orient and Stevenage fail to win against Morecambe.

The two sides will see their recent rivalry recommence after five meetings over the past two seasons.

Chief among them was Derek Adams’ side winning in the play-offs last term.

Stevens stated Pompey have not forgotten that disappointment but the belief is flowing after recording six wins in seven.

He said: ‘We haven’t forgotten what happened. It’s a positive thing to use. We know the past and we know what happened last season.

‘But, to be honest, it’s not going to play a part in the game. This is a fresh season and our aim is to move a step closer to promotion.

‘You don’t forget it but you don’t hold grudges. You move on. They have put themselves in a great position – like we have.

‘It comes down to two teams wanting to get promotion.’

Plymouth will be expected to pose a physical test as they look to improve a fine away record this season.

Their strength from set-pieces will be another threat but Stevens knows his team will be sticking to their principles.

He said: ‘I’m not a fortune teller but hopefully it’s us on top playing a high-tempo game and pressing. We’ll see where that will take us.

‘They are a tough team and they are where they are for a reason. They’ve had an excellent season.

‘Their away form is terrific so they will have every confidence coming to Fratton Park.

‘They will feel from previous history they can turn us over. We need to be ready for that.

‘We’re going in there with momentum, though, and we have to keep that momentum up. Especially at this time of the season.

‘We’re hitting form at the right time. We need that to see us through now and get us over the line.

‘I’m not looking at how many wins are needed. I’m looking at the game.

‘It’s a game at a time – and there’s no bigger game than playing Plymouth right now.

‘We have always believed we have a good team. If you ask any member of the squad they’d say the same.

‘We believe we’re the best team in the league.

‘At times results haven’t gone for us. We’ve won games we shouldn’t and lost games we should’ve won.

‘It’s a season, there are ups and downs and twists and turns.

‘But we are going well at the moment and need to get over the line now.’