John Coleman is looking forward to meeting up with his mate and ex-Stanley boss Paul Cook again – and getting one over on him in tomorrow’s Emirates FA Cup clash.
Cook and assistant Leam Richardson are just two of the Stanley connections with ex-Reds Gary Roberts, Jayden Stockley, Rommy Boco and Kal Naismith also at Fratton Park although Naismith is currently on loan at Hartlepool while Roberts has been injured.
The Reds drew at pre-season title favourites Portsmouth in League Two in September and Coleman says his team will be going all-out to go one better and be in the hat for the third round.
“There’ll be a good atmosphere and there’s the added spice of Paul Cook being the manager – an ex-Stanley manager and ex-coach and player under me, and a mate of mine,” said Coleman.
“We’re going there trying to win because it’s what we want to do. It’s our stamp, it’s our identity of how we play football. We go into every game trying to win.
“If we were going to Barcelona I’d be going to win. I wouldn’t be going to try to shut-up shop.”
Coleman admitted him and Cook have chatted about the second round clash.
“I’ve probably spoken to Cooky about 10 times since the draw. I spoke to him on Wednesday afternoon.
“We know each other’s problems as managers and they can be different and they can be the same, so you can empathise with each other.
“We both know we’ve got good teams, so we’re looking forward to a good game and may the best team win.”
Coleman knows that there is pressure on Cook due to Portsmouth’s history of being in the Premier League, winning the FA Cup and the expectations with their large crowds and their big budget.
“He will be expected to get promoted while we’re doing our best to get promoted and people appreciate that we’re doing our best because they know we’ve got minuscule resources compared to them.
“It’s still a tough task at Portsmouth. They’ve had those resources for the last three or four years and have never been near the top, so the fact that they’re in the top five now must be testament that he’s doing something right.”
Coleman continued: “Portsmouth are a good team and a side who are waiting to click into gear.
“They had a fabulous win when they beat York 6-0, they backed it up with an impressive draw coming from two goals down, and they’ve got good players. If all those good players click at once they can be damaging as York found out.
“We’ve got to be on our mettle to play to the best of our ability and when we do, we’re a match for anybody. I’ve always said that.
“There are no guarantees in football but we have to go down there and give it our best shot.
“I hope it doesn’t become one of those nervy games where both teams cancel each other out, which is probably what happened in the first game. We’re going to try to play our normal game and try to win.”