Boro Player spoke to manager Graham Westley ahead of this Saturday’s trip to Portsmouth for the League One tie and he spoke of excitement going into the tie.
The trip to Fratton Park comes towards the end of a difficult season for the hosts whose well-documented financial troubles needn’t be dwelled on. Westley spoke of a side who have faced their fair share of adversity in the past year, but one who have now settled.
“They’re very much a changing and changed club, a changed team throughout the season. They’ve had a lot of turmoil and trouble and it’s been difficult – I spoke to Guy [Whittingham – Portsmouth Manager] the other night and he was saying how much it has settled down since January, when the transfer window closed and the players knew that they were going to be there for the season and he said that it has helped him to get things on some sort of a level footing.”
Westley continued: “They’ve got some good lads there, good experienced players, and they’ve got themselves together and are knocking out some results. We know it is a tough place to go, and I’m sure Saturday will be as difficult as ever this season. From our point of view, I think it is a good time to be going there, the lads are responding well on the training ground and I am very encouraged by the attitude and response that they’ve shown. I thought that they were resilient on Monday; it was a dogged and determined game and there is no doubt that there is some good quality at this football club. You saw that in passages of play on Monday that were exhilarating. It’s a good time for us to be going there, we’ve had a good week and we’ve worked hard and I know that they have had a couple of days off down there.
“We’ve been trying to get ourselves together as a new outfit and we have put the time in, and as I say the players seem in a good mood to me.”
Despite being in the relegation places Pompey have been on good form of late, losing just once in their last eight games and winning their last three home fixtures on the bounce. Form isn’t something that the Boro manager will lose sleep over though.
“The only thing that matters, when it comes to form, is the form that you show on the day in the game. What will count on Saturday isn’t what Stevenage have or haven’t done over the last twenty games; what will count on Saturday is what Stevenage do on Saturday afternoon, that is what will make the difference. We’ll go there nicely prepared, nicely rested, with a lot of ideas and intention. It is obviously important form our point of view to keep taking three points, we know the value to us of three more points, and as is always our mentality the next win is the most vital one and we are geared up for it.”
Part of the positive turn in Portsmouth’s season has been the loan signing of Patrick Agyemang from Stevenage, who has netted twice in his time with the club but proved a strong player to build their attacking play around.
When asked whether he could line up against his parent club at the weekend, Westley replied: “In these situations there is normally a gentleman’s agreement that a player won’t play against his parent club, I’m not sure you can write it into the agreement but I’d be surprised if Patrick played.”
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