Family bragging rights at stake as Palmer goes gunning for Pompey

The celebrations begin as Ollie Palmer (far left) and his teammates celebrate after Palmer nets the winning goal.
The celebrations begin as Ollie Palmer (far left) and his teammates celebrate after Palmer nets the winning goal.

Ollie Palmer has pledged to do his family proud – and put Pompey to the sword tomorrow.

The 21-year-old has embarked on a Football League career with Mansfield following a whirlwind transfer from the Hawks three weeks ago.

Last weekend he opened his goal account for the Stags, netting the winner against Wycombe just 10 minutes after coming on as a substitute.

Next up for the League Two newcomers is the visit of the Blues – an encounter which has got the Palmer family licking their lips with anticipation.

The striker’s dad hails from Southampton, while he still has grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins who live there.

According to Palmer, several of them are St Mary’s season-ticket holders, while others also pay to watch the Premier League club.

It’s just another game for the Hawks’ 25-goal hero from last season, who himself was born in Epsom and is an Arsenal fan.

But for others in the clan there is considerably more at stake.

He said: ‘Portsmouth have a fantastic following and it is going to be an exciting game. Mansfield will come out in their numbers, too.

‘I know I played for Havant but I have no loyalties towards Portsmouth to be honest. There is no affiliation for me.

‘I have never even been to Fratton Park, I’ve never played them in a friendly and I am an Arsenal fan.

‘But all my dad’s side of the family are from Southampton!

‘I’ve got grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins who still live there and a few of them are season-ticket holders. Some still go and watch occasionally, too.

‘They want me to do well against Portsmouth.

‘They’ve definitely known about this game coming up for a while!

‘They are keen for me to beat them and some of my family will be there. We rotate it, so I’m not sure which ones yet.

‘It has been incredible for me over the last month. One day I am preparing for a Havant friendly and the next I am preparing for an away game at Scunthorpe in front of 5,000 fans.

‘Then to get a goal two weeks into my Football League career is amazing.

‘Now I have got to keep that up and it’s great the gaffer believes in me and has given me that confidence.’

Palmer scored 40 goals in 83 matches during two seasons at Westleigh Park.

That came to an end earlier this month when Mansfield beat Swindon to his signature for an undisclosed fee.

The striker missed the Hawks’ 5-0 pre-season friendly defeat against Guy Whittingham’s men through a holiday abroad for his mum’s 50th birthday.

Now he will face them in league football tomorrow.

And he admitted he owes a lot to the Hawks and current boss Lee Bradbury.

He added: ‘I really appreciate Havant. They gave me the opportunity to play first-team football and, if not, I probably wouldn’t be in league football now.

‘Lee Bradbury has been fantastic, developing my game and has helped me off the field as well.

‘They treated me really well and looked after me, so for that I am grateful.’