Boss looks ahead to Grecians test
It was just over two months ago when Exeter slipped to the bottom of the League Two table.
A 3-2 defeat at Carlisle ensured that the pressure continued to grow on under-fire manager Paul Tisdale.
The fact that they now sit in ninth spot and just a point outside the play-offs shows what a remarkable resurgence the Grecians have enjoyed.
So Paul Cook will not be treating the Devon visitors lightly as he tries to keep Pompey on the promotion trail.
The Blues boss said: “Everyone knows that Exeter are on a great run and the reason they are is because they’re a very strong team.
“I’ve got a lot of time for Paul – who’s one of the most respected managers there is – and we know we’ll have a difficult test at Fratton Park.
“There were some harsh things said about him earlier in the season, but he’s shown his quality by the way he’s picked them up.
“They’re one of a few teams who can still genuinely feel that they could go up automatically and all those managers will have to believe they can achieve success.
“It’s a long season and the league table does not really matter until after the last game of the season – I know it’s boring and I say it every week, but it’s true.
“There’s still so much that can happen with 20 matches to play, so right now we’re only focusing on Exeter.
“We were very fortunate to win at their place earlier in the season – I don’t think it was a penalty in a million years, but we were grateful for the three points!”
Pompey were left without a match last weekend after their scheduled fixture at Crawley was called off on Saturday morning because of a frozen pitch.
Cook said: “You can feel throughout the week that you’re building up to a huge game and we were taking big numbers across there.
“The whole weekend is based around the football and when it’s called off at 9am, you feel for the fans.
“Christian Burgess went and coached some young footballers and I thought that was a fantastic gesture. He’s got a bit about him.”
Meanwhile, midfielder Amine Linganzi has extended his stay at Fratton Park until the end of the season.
Watch Cook’s thoughts on Saturday’s game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full pre-match video content.