Pompey out to end Boxing Day hoodoo

Linvoy Primus scores the opening goal for Pompey against West Ham in 2006
Linvoy Primus scores the opening goal for Pompey against West Ham in 2006

G uy Whittingham will get all of his Boxing Day preparations done today to allow his players Christmas Day with their families.

The caretaker boss has decided it makes no sense to get the squad in for a training session the day before the League One showdown against Crawley Town with so many players living outside of the area.

So instead, he will make sure all of the preparation is done by the end of today – as long as the club’s training ground is fit.

Whittingham explained: ‘The players will do their work on Christmas Eve.

‘I’ve been involved at clubs in the past where sometimes you train on Christmas Day and sometimes you don’t.

‘A lot depends on the manager’s view, the personnel at the club and where they live. I’ve experienced both.

‘We’ve got a few lads who travel quite a long way to get to the training ground because they have been unable to move closer.

‘So I felt it just made a bit more sense to give everyone the day off and do our work on Christmas Eve ahead of the Boxing Day game.

‘Our immediate concern is training.

‘We did a light training session on Friday but we’re now hoping the training ground will be alright for that.

‘We thought about everything but we think we will be alright with the way we have sorted things out.’

Meanwhile, Pompey will be looking to end a dreadful record of Boxing Day results with their last win coming in 2006 when a Linvoy Primus double helped the Blues to a 2-1 win at West Ham.

Primus had also been the match-winner with the only goal of the game two years before at Crystal Palace.

But their winless run on home turf in the festive clash stretches back nine years when popular Czech midfielder Patrik Berger’s brace steered them to a 2-0 win over Spurs in the Premier League clash in 2003.

Last year, Michael Appleton’s side went down to a 1-0 loss at Millwall, while it was a 1-1 draw against the same opposition at Fratton Park in 2010.

A 2-0 Premier League defeat at West Ham in 2009 followed a shocking 4-1 home reverse to the Hammers the year before, while a 0-0 draw at home to Arsenal represented a decent result in 2007.

– STEVE WILSON