Barcham: We can take the heat

Andy Barcham insists Pompey won't buckle under the pressure
Andy Barcham insists Pompey won't buckle under the pressure

Andy Barcham promised Pompey fans: We can handle the pressure.

Andy Barcham promised Pompey fans: We can handle the pressure.

The Blues begin their League Two programme today with the spotlight on them following their relegation to the English game’s basement division.

A combination of the club’s standing in the game and their emergence as the United Kingdom’s biggest community-owned club has ensured plenty of eyes will be on Guy Whittingham’s squad against Oxford.

Whittingham’s men are also the bookies’ favourite to lift the League Two title.

But Barcham believes the club can embrace their standing and duties now that they are owned by fans.

He said: ‘The ownership is like nothing I have ever experienced before, but it’s fantastic.

‘When we signed we realised what was happening with the fans but the gaffer has been drumming it into us.

‘If we can achieve anything this season, it’s great that we can do it together as a club.

‘The fans, everyone who works here at the club, wants to do well. It’s a unique situation to be in but we will use that to our advantage.

‘The attention is going to be on us and rightly so – it’s a massive club.

‘People from the outside will want to see how we handle things and how we deal with it.

‘It’s difficult to deal with the expectations at times but that’s where our togetherness and morale has to come in.

‘We’re in it together and we have to handle ourselves in the right way.’

Pompey will be roared on by a sell-out crowd at Fratton Park today against Oxford.

Barcham dismissed the suggestion Whittingham’s players will freeze in that environment.

He said: ‘I think it helps. If it has a negative effect on them then great, but, for us it’s a positive.’