Oxford United boss Karl Robinson has been talking to iFollow ahead of the home game against Portsmouth on Saturday.
It’s a game that always brings back memories for the U’s Manager, who took charge of his new team for the first time at Fratton Park.
“I remember that first game,” he said. “We have come a long way since that day but we are still not where our journey is going to take us in the end. We had to break a few things down and rebuild at the start, and even now we are certainly not the team I want us to be, but we are definitely on the right road.
“That first game was a typical game for us against Portsmouth. I like them and what they stand for. I like the energy that comes back at you and I enjoy playing against them with their big-club mentality. They won the FA Cup in recent years and have had some great players in the last decade, so you always know they aspire to be that again.
“I think there is a healthy rivalry on the pitch whenever we play but there is a tremendous respect between the clubs and probably between the fans. They are always tight games; I think we drew six straight games against them or there was only one goal between us in matches. They have had a good window and it’s going to be difficult, but we go into it with a clear mindset and home davantage.
“It will be the second game in a row with a 10,000 crowd and there will be a tremendous atmosphere. Look at Cheltenham and Wimbledon at home and there were big home crowds for those too, so it feel like we are heading in the right direction and the whole city is getting behind us. The hardcore fans will travel up and down the country with us week after week and we will never take them for granted, but then there are people who are re-engaging with the football club and like to come and watch good football, which I think we usually manage to do.
“It’s not all about what happens on the pitch; I think we work tremendously hard to engage all of the community and make the club a focal point for more and more people. Hopefully the next generation of fans are starting to see us as more than just a football team that plays good football with tremendous desire. They see a club that means so much to people and hopefully that will grow and grow.”
See the full interview plus the Preview Show in iFollow now.
Saturday will be a big day; be part of it. CLICK HERE to book your place or call 01865 337533