City defender previews a trip to Fratton ParkExeter City defender Danny Butterfield is keenly anticipating a trip to face Portsmouth at Fratton Park – but is treating the game as any other.
Pompey – who comfortably hold the biggest reputation in recent years of any of the clubs competing in League 2 this season – currently lie 16th in the division. Just one win in the last 11 league games has largely put the brakes on expectations of gaining promotion this year for the Hampshire club.
Defender Butterfield, who formerly played down the road with their rivals Southampton, has turned out at Fratton Park in the past with Grimsby and Crystal Palace when Portsmouth were in higher divisions. He missed out on the trip last season, having picked up an injury against Hartlepool the month before.
So he is hopeful of featuring this time around and feels confident that the Grecians can turn in a winning performance.
“They’re definitely a well-supported club, and you could say they’re too big for this league,” said Danny. “But they’re here for their own reasons and they’re taking part in our league, and it’s another game for us.
“It’ll be nice to play in front of more fans than we’re used to, but that comes with pressure on their shoulders to get a home win and we feel that we can capitalise on that pressure and put them under more pressure.
“I hope I’m involved – it’s certainly a game that I’d look forward to, and certainly with my Southampton connections as well. It’s a game that we’re all looking forward to and hopefully I’m selected and can do a job, and we can get a positive result.
“But Saturday is about us – we’re not concerned how Portsmouth are and the form they’re in. It comes down to the 90 minutes on Saturday and we certainly feel that we can go there and win.
“We’ve come off the back of two points and the momentum is starting to tick again, and we need to keep that rolling for a play-off push.”
One stat of note in the pre-match chat is that Portsmouth have kept a clean sheet in each of their last three fixtures. Former Grecians’ goalkeeper Paul Jones has spent nearly five hours between the sticks without a visit to his net.
But with Exeter amongst the most potent goalscoring teams in the division – only Wycombe can better the Grecians’ 21 goals scored on the road so far this year – so Danny is backing his teammates to give the Portsmouth defence a real workout.
“They’re entitled to defend their goal, as any team is,” he continued. “But we’re confident in scoring goals in games, and we’ve got players at that end of the pitch that are on form and scoring.
“So it’ll be a tough match for their defenders, because of what we’ll pose on Saturday.”