John Coleman says it’s only a matter of time before Portsmouth are firing on all cylinders – and knows his Accrington Stanley side will have to be at their best to stop them.
Pompey, and around 800 fans, make the trip to the Wham Stadium tomorrow with Danny Cowley’s side currently in 17th place in the League One table.
The Reds, up to tenth, have won two out of their last three League One games after a tricky spell while Portsmouth have conceded eight goals in their last two games – but the match before put four past promotion contenders Sunderland.
Coleman is glad to be back at the Wham Stadium, where the Reds have only lost once at home in this campaign.
“This is going to be a tough game, I have watched Portsmouth a number of times and they are better than their league position suggests,” said the Stanley boss.
“I know Danny and Nicky (Cowley) well, they are good football people who are keen and conscientious about their job and it’s only a matter of time before they start firing and we have to be at our best to stop them.
“They have good players, players who can hurt you, and it’s something we have to be mindful of but we have good players as well.”
The Reds boss says that playing former Premier League clubs at the Wham is still special for Stanley.
“These are the days people can get blasé about and take them for granted. Games like Portsmouth, Sunderland, Ipswich and Charlton, they were like cup finals for us.
“But we are now competing with them on our own right in this league. You want to see big clubs do well but they can’t all be big. They are in this league for a reason and we are as well, we have earned our right to be in this league and we won’t roll over for any team we play.”
Coleman has been frustrated his side haven’t been able to play consistently well this season as they look to move up towards the Play-Off places.
“We have got to keep improving, we are not showing consistency for long periods enough in games. I don’t think we have played badly this season but have played parts of games badly and we haven’t played well for 90 minutes in any game.
“You have got to hope the patches you have are more damaging than the patches the other team have. When you get to that situation, it’s very much like a lottery.”
He admits the table is beginning to take shape but it is only a quarter of the way through the season.
“Looking at the table, it’s still early days. Teams will go through a purple patch which Plymouth, Sunderland and Wycombe are at the moment.
“Our job firstly is to make sure we get enough points to stay up and we have to keep clocking up the wins to do that.”
Defender Ross Sykes is 50/50 for tomorrow while Joe Pritchard, Joel Mumbongo and Joe Hardy are expected to play for the Under 23s next week. Harvey Rodgers is also on his way back to fitness.
The full pre-match interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!