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Fixture News

Gallen: A Serious Challenge

Assistant manager excited by Emirates FA Cup test

3 January 2019

Joe Gallen
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

The tiring Christmas schedule has not dented Pompey’s enthusiasm for the Emirates FA Cup.

Kenny Jackett’s side visit Carrow Road on Saturday to face a Norwich outfit who are battling for promotion to the Premier League.

The third round contest – that kicks-off at 5.30pm – sees a clash between two teams who are flying high in their respective divisions.

And Joe Gallen hopes that the Blues can take their fruitful festive form to East Anglia and cause an upset.

Pompey’s assistant manager said: “We won three out of the four games – we wanted to go unbeaten and, unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be.

“But nobody’s really fatigued when you’re doing well and everyone’s ready for Saturday. It’s an exciting game.

"The pressure’s perhaps off us a little bit, but we know we’re going to have to play very, very well to get a result."

Joe Gallen

“It’s a serious challenge for us. They’ve been around the top of the Championship for quite a while and are looking to get into the Premier League.

“Norwich is a great place to go and play – they always have big crowds and we’re bringing a lot of our fans along.

“So we’re looking forward to it and it’s not often that we find ourselves as the underdogs. We probably were against Sunderland and you saw how our supporters reacted to that.

“The pressure’s perhaps off us a little bit, but we know we’re going to have to play very, very well to get a result.”

Pompey full-backs Lee Brown and Nathan Thompson continue to be sidelined by hamstring problems.

Gallen explained: “They obviously won’t be involved in the next couple of games, but I think Lee is slightly ahead of Nathan. More than likely we’re looking towards the end of the month.

“Ben Close is also unfortunately going to be out for a couple of weeks after going over on his ankle towards the end of the Wimbledon match.

“Joe Mason’s gone back to Wolves. The same players have probably played around 95 per cent of our games and it’s been tough for him to push his way through.

“It’s not that he’s done anything wrong because he’s a very good player with a lot of quality. We thank him for coming down and wish him well for the future.

“I think it’s fair to say we’d like to bring some more players in, but it’s tough to make signings in January and we’re delighted to have got Andy Cannon.”

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