Appy: We can repeat 2008 heroics

Sulley Muntari slots past stand-in keeper Rio Ferdinand in Pompey's famous 1-0 FA Cup win at Manchester United in 2008
Sulley Muntari slots past stand-in keeper Rio Ferdinand in Pompey's famous 1-0 FA Cup win at Manchester United in 2008

Michael Appleton feels Pompey have what it takes to trump their 2008 FA Cup glory win at Manchester United against Chelsea tomorrow.

The Pompey boss insists his men can stun the Premier League big guns in their third round clash at Stamford Bridge.

But the Blues will have to rewrite the history books to do that, as they go in search of their first victory over the swaggering west Londoners since 1960 – and first at their home since 1955.

The odds will be stacked against Appleton’s men, but they will be roared on by a 3,000-strong travelling army in the capital.

Appleton is aware of the size of the task Pompey will face against Andre Villas-Boas’ galaxy of stars.

He reckons even the against-all-odds 1-0 victory at Old Trafford against United, which paved the way for Cup victory four years ago, will be left in the shade by success tomorrow.

But the 36-year-old knows the magic of the grand, old tournament means anything can happen.

Appleton said: ‘There are always shocks in the FA Cup, and there’s no reason there can’t be one at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.

‘But we are aware of the quality they have and the danger they can cause.

‘A win would be a bit bigger than that game (beating Manchester United in 2008).

‘There’s been a few things which have happened to Portsmouth since those days.

‘You only have to look at the size of the squad now and the fact some players are coming towards the end of their careers to see that.

‘We’ve won a few games and things are going well at the minute.

‘I think there will be numerous teams up and down the country this weekend hoping they will be the ones to create the big shock.

‘There are some really good ties for potential giant killing, and we hope we are one of them.

‘We hope that’s the case, but we aren’t getting carried away.’

With Chelsea 11 points off the pace in the Premier League title race, the FA Cup is looking like the only domestic silverware they can collect this season.

Appleton reck-ons his team have to be hard to break down first and foremost, with a thrashing a possibility if they go for the jugular.

But he thinks Chelsea could be in for a shock if they take an upwardly-mobile Pompey lightly.

He said: ‘It’s a competition Chelsea are still in and I would imagine if they could get a bit of silverware, the FA Cup would be the most likely one.

‘We just have to hope they think we are a side in the bottom half of the Championship with their problems off the field.

‘If they do, we may be able to catch them off-guard slightly.

‘If they do freshen it up, their players will see it as an opportunity to force their way into the team, though.

‘From our view I have to worry about what we do.

‘We have to be hard to beat. If you go to Stamford Bridge and are gung-ho there’s always the likelihood you could get a right good spanking and we don’t want that – especially after putting in some right good performances over the past few weeks.

‘We will try to be hard to beat and give them as good a game as we possibly can.’