Gallen says Pompey on a revenge mission as Cobblers head to Fratton Park

Portsmouth assistant boss Joe Gallen
Portsmouth assistant boss Joe Gallen

Assistant boss Joe Gallen says Portsmouth are out for revenge when they take on the Cobblers at Fratton Park on Saturday.

The two sides clash in Sky Bet League One (ko 3pm), with Town’s 3-1 win when they previously met at Sixfields in September still fresh in the minds of the Pompey squad.

Losing at Northampton was a pretty disappointing evening for us, and the only way to get back at them is to beat them in the league

Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen

The Cobblers have already been to Fratton Park this month, going down 2-0 in a Checkatrade Trophy second round match, but Gallen says this weekend’s game is the one Portsmouth really want to win.

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s team travel to the south coast as huge underdogs, as they sit third bottom in the league one table, while Pompey are a lofty seventh.

Kenny Jackett’s men have won six of their past eight league matches, and are now level on points with sixth-placed Peterborough United as they eye a second straight promotion, following their league two title success in May.

On paper, there would appear to be only one winner, but Gallen says there will be no complacency in the Portsmouth camp, and they have the added incentive of righting what they felt was a wrong at Sixfields earlier in the campaign.

“There will be no over-confidence from us at all,” said Gallen.

“Northampton beat us in the league the last time we met, and although we did beat them in the Checkatrade Trophy and were pleased with that, we owe them from beating us in the league.

“That was a pretty disappointing evening for us, and the only way to get back at them is to beat them in the league.”

The Cobblers go to Fratton Park off the back of five straight away defeats in all competitions, conceding eight goals in their past two road trips, losing 5-1 at Oldham Athletic and 3-0 at Doncaster Rovers on Boxing Day.

But Gallen is still expecting tough resistance from the Cobblers, and he says that is something the Pompey players are having to get used to.

“It will be a tough game, a tight game, and the games do seem to form a pattern for us at home at the moment,” he said.

“The first half always seems to be pretty tight, and then in the second half things start to open up and we manage to narrowly win some games.

“It is easier for me on the side if we are 2-0 or 3-0 up and we can relax, but it just hasn’t been like that.

“I don’t think we are going to change too much, we need to keep things tight and we need to aim to keep clean sheets, but ultimately we are aiming to create more chances, and that should lead to scoring goals.

“But we will take a narrow win if that is what happens.

“I understand where Northampton are in the league, and where people see us in the league, but these teams will start fighting for their lives, to use a cliche.

“That is how it is in football, and if you do end up getting relegated then the financial implication of that for players, and on contracts etc changes.

“These teams down at the bottom will start fighting for their careers pretty soon, and it is goinng to be a tough game for us.”

A crowd of more than 18,000 is expected at the game, with Pompey set to name an unchanged squad from the one that saw off AFC Wimbledon 2-1 on Boxing Day.

The Cobblers are still waiting on the fitness of central defender Leon Barnett (Achilles), although it seems certain Aaron Pierre will miss out.

Daniel Powell (hamstring), Alex Revell (groin) and Aaron Phillips are all still likely to be sidelined.