JOHN Sheridan does not think his players will be boosted by the hype and atmosphere surrounding Saturday’s Dockyard Derby with Portsmouth – because he does not think they need to be.The game, which is Sky TV’s live early game, looks set to attract the biggest Home Park crowd since last season’s Devon Expressway Derby with Exeter.
With around 1,500 Pompey fans likely to fill the Barn Park end, the match is sure to be a passionate and noisy affair.
John said: “I don’t think you should have to have a lift. You are very lucky to be a footballer, something you love. So, from Monday-Saturday, you don’t change your mentality. You do everything right, whether it’s in a match or in training.
“I don’t feel that playing Portsmouth on Sky is any different to playing Hartlepool at home. I take every game the same. They are all difficult; they are all games we are trying to win, because we are at home.
“The players know the importance of the game: they know we have got to try to win and get back to winning ways. That’s what we’ll try to breed into them going into the game.”
Part of the match’s attraction is the history of its participants.
John said: “If I wasn’t here, I’d be thinking ‘That’s a big game’ – two teams in this division who were in the Championship and Premiership not so long ago; two big clubs.
“[Portsmouth] are a strong team. They have got some good players for this division. Obviously they are a big club for this league. It’ll be a good test for us.
“Hopefully, the players will look forward to a game like this. It’s a game I am looking forward to because it will test us and bring a little bit out of us – a bit of determination and will to win, because we need to get that into our game.”