JOE DEVERA wrote off Oxford’s early-season struggles and promised: It’s all on the day.
Devera knows Pompey can’t afford to be complacent when they go to the Kassam Stadium tomorrow.
Andy Awford’s men have started the campaign impressively, with three wins and a draw in their opening four games.
Michael Appleton’s Oxford have had a difficult opening, with three defeats in the league punctuated by a Capital One Cup win at Bristol City.
Devera believes, however, that will have little bearing on how the game between the two sides will go.
The 27-year-old knows the U’s will be pumped up for the clash.
The defender has witnessed how many sides seem to find an extra gear for a meeting with his team.
He expects Appleton’s men to be no different tomorrow.
Devera said: ‘It’s more about us.
‘It’s not about how they’ve been doing, it’s them against us on the day.
‘We’re in good form and they are in a bad moment.
‘But it’s still going to be who wants it more – they will be the better team.
‘Oxford are going to be fighting because they have no points at the moment.
‘Teams also seem to up their games against us.’
After an encouraging start, Devera is looking to see the fourth-placed Blues keep up with League Two’s early pacemakers.
He isn’t concerned about making a breakthrough, however, and would be content to see Pompey come up on the blind side of their rivals.
He said: ‘It’s too early to be getting too carried away about anything.
‘I’ve got nothing to say about what other people are saying about us.
‘We are just looking to keep our heads down and slowly pick the points up that we need.’
Devera acknowledged there is a different feeling in the Pompey camp to the one he experienced in his first season at Fratton Park, following his arrival from Swindon.
The Londoner sees a stronger squad around him than there was 12 months ago.
But the Blues now face a test of their mettle over the next couple of weeks, with five of their next six games on the road.
‘I wouldn’t compare last season to this season at all,’ Devera added.
‘It’s completely different this time. ‘It feels different and there is a feel-good factor.
‘Last season didn’t feel as strong.
‘We’re playing our home games and getting results.
‘But now we’ve to go and do that away from home.’