Arsenal sent Fratton Park warning by Portsmouth boss ahead of FA Cup clash
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett has called on the Fratton Park faithful to crank up the heat on Arsenal on Monday night.
The Gunners, reeling from last week’s Europa League exit to Olympiacos, head to the League One outfit knowing the FA Cup is their last chance to put some gloss on a wretched campaign.
But while accepting Mikel Arteta’s men are firm favourites to reach the last eight, Jackett wants the Pompey hardcore to ensure they receive a red-hot welcome.
None of Arsenal’s Premier League stars has experienced the unique atmosphere generated inside one of the country’s oldest stadiums.
And Jackett reckons that is one factor his side can use to their advantage as they attempt to produce a major giant-killing – by dumping the 13-time Cup winners.
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The Pompey supremo, 58, declared: “It’s a big task, definitely, a big challenge. But if we can pull off an upset it would be great.
“With the type of crowd we have at Fratton Park, there is no reason why we can’t.
“There is a good link at the moment between the players and the supporters – they’ll be right behind the team on Monday.
“I wouldn’t necessarily use the word ‘intimidating’ but it’s an old-fashioned ground, tight, a fantastic crowd, a passionate crowd and we have to use those assets.
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“We would be stupid not to. It is a major asset of the club in any competition. We have a fantastic atmosphere when the crowd get going.
“With so many new stadiums now, that is quite unique.”
Unlike Arsenal, languishing in top-flight mid-table obscurity, 2010 Cup winners Pompey, wkth are very much in the thick of the League One Play-Off race.
Hence, Jackett, whose side played Rochdale on Friday, will rotate tomorrow as promotion remains the priority.
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The ex-Wales international, who led Millwall to the semis in 2013, added: “The players are no different to me. They want to be in the Championship – that’s our biggest aim.
“We want to get back into the upper echelons of the pyramid, if we can, but want to do it in a sustainable way. That’s important.
“Looking at the ups and downs of Portsmouth, they’ve had a lot of highs and lows.
“A decade ago they were Cup winners, then spent four years in League Two. And they’ve had three administrations in the last 22 years. That’s quite a lot.“
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