Familiar Territory

SATURDAY’S trip to Fratton Park will be a return visit for several of Argyle’s first team squad who have also plied their trade with Pompey in the past.

Toumani Diagouraga is one of those players, and although his time in Hampshire was only brief, it did introduce him to a couple of his current Plymouth teammates.

“Sonny (Bradley) and Jake (Jervis) were there when I was there on loan from Brentford,” says Toums. “I went there for a month and then they wanted to extend to the end of the season. I agreed and I signed, and then I got called back a week after.”

It may only have been an eight game spell for the midfielder, but even that was enough to give him an appreciation of the atmosphere Argyle will be facing on Saturday.

“It’s a very good atmosphere,” said Toums. “They’ve got a good fanbase, so sometimes the fans can kind of get them over the line. But we’ve played against Bradford which was a big crowd so we know how to deal with it.

“I think any player wants to play in front of big crowds. If you don’t want to play in front of big crowds you’re in the wrong job really. So we’ll be going there trying to frustrate them and more importantly trying to frustrate the players.”

Toums is aware of the rivalry between the two clubs, but believes that the players will need to look beyond that and concentrate on playing the game as usual.

He said: “Yes, you look forward to it but you don’t want to get carried away thinking about the game too much and the game passes you by. We need to go there, do the job at hand and after the game, after you get the result, you can enjoy it. But before the game it’s about preparing and being ready for it.”

“I think that’s a very good thing for the players to know (about the rivalry) and I’m sure the fans like beating them. But us playing, we just need to concentrate on the job and go there and try and get the win.”

The Pilgrims will be looking to carry the momentum from the victory against Northampton on Tuesday night, which itself became the perfect antidote to a heavy defeat against Oxford.

“We knew we had to win against Northampton really,” said Toums. “We couldn’t afford to lose and be seven points behind them. So you could see from the first whistle that we really went after them and it was a very good win.”

“Especially after the red card and losing 4-0, you want to get back out there as soon as possible and make it right, and that’s what we’ve done.”