Tis: “An attractive game to play in”

City manager looks ahead to Pompey visit

The last time Exeter City travelled to face Portsmouth, a Steve Neville brace wasn’t enough to prevent losing the Grecians losing 3-2 to their hosts.

That was in the old Division Three, towards the back end of the 1982/83 season, when a crowd of 10,622 – the largest audience that the Grecians entertained all year – packed themselves into Fratton Park as the hosts charged towards the league title.

30 years on, Exeter City have the chance to visit Fratton Park again – during which time Pompey have risen to the top tier, represented England in European competition, won the FA Cup, plummeted back down the divisions, before finally being taken over by the supporters last summer.

For Grecians manager Paul Tisdale, the chance to play Pompey is first and foremost an opportunity to condemn the frustration of last weekend’s home defeat to Burton Albion to the past.  City had opportunities to win the game, but were ultimately beaten to the punch when the Brewers netted an 89th-minute winner.

“I don’t think we were great [against Burton],” said Tis, “but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose.  I think we had our chances – we missed two terrific one-on-ones, but you have to live with being disappointed sometimes.  We conceded a late goal and I don’t think we were focused enough on keeping the ball out of the net.

“That’s life – it’s part of football and it’s part of our process of developing and learning this season, but it was a frustrating day.

“I think you have to move on quickly in football, whether you win or lose; it’s all part of the required need.  But I will say that the game at Portsmouth on Saturday will be a very different affair to playing at home against Burton last week – it is a different type of game.

“It’s a different game, a different team, and a different set of challenges.  We have to try and work out what the kinds of challenges will be this week.  We have to move on quickly – we can’t dwell for too long.”

Portsmouth were the bookies’ favourites to earn promotion in 2013/14, after having dropped through League 1’s basement last season.  A sticky start to the season has set Pompey’s hopes back a few pegs, but Tis is looking forward to a trip to the Hampshire coast and the game ahead.

Crowds at Fratton Park have regularly exceeded 15,000 so far this year, and with over 1,000 Exeter fans due to make the trip this time around, Paul is relishing the chance for his side to show their mettle on a large stage.

“Fratton Park will be a really good place to play,” he continued.  “There’ll be a lot of supporters and a lot of noise.  It’ll be a really good atmosphere so it’ll be a different type of game for us.

“They have some good players and we have to work out their strengths.  I imagine we’ll take more supporters than the norm, and I imagine they’ll have a good day out at Fratton Park.  With our away form, who knows what we’re able to achieve.

“I’ve played there myself, and one thing for sure is that it’s going to be a good atmosphere.  Their supporters get behind the team, and it’s a very supportive set of supporters.  They lead their team and lift their team with their support and volume.  It’s an attractive game to play in.”

Exeter supporters are reminded that the game away at Portsmouth is all-ticket, meaning that fans must have their tickets arranged in advance of matchday.  Click here for further details.