Pompey boss Steve Cotterill is heading for Norfolk this weekend desperately hoping that Lady Luck will continue to shine on his South Coast side.
Left gameless last weekend due to the snow, Portsmouth found themselves slipping back into the mid-table pack as the likes of the Canaries powered forward – in City’s case on the back of that excellent 2-1 away win at Derby County.
Pompey produced an eye-catching result of their own a week earlier with a 2-1 away win at an in-form Swansea City.
Only a hotly-debated, last-gasp penalty decision denied them a 1-0 win over leaders QPR at the start of the month. In between the Rangers game and the Swans win, narrow defeats at home to Doncaster and away to Barnsley have set Portsmouth back.
But Cotterill is hoping that the club’s fortunes are on the turn – on the field at least.
“We could have got four more points last month,” he told the Portsmouth News this week.
“Suddenly we would have been in the top six and continued our great run from October. But that’s what happens in football. It’s such a fine line. That’s how strange the league is.”
The Canaries found themselves becalmed briefly in eighth spot on the back of those four, successive draws. But the derby success and last weekend’s triumph at Pride Park have put the wind firmly back in their sails again.
Carrow Road will expect… come Saturday; another three points; another home win; another step closer to at least a play-off showdown come the end of the season. In their way, of course, stands Cotterill and his Pompey outfit.
Like most managers, he could be found this week rueing the ones that got away…
“If you look at it, we have been a little bit unlucky in November,” he claimed.
“Take QPR. There was a massive decision in that game to award them a penalty. “That was a wrong decision, even the referee’s assessor said that, and we ended up with a draw rather than a win.
“Against Doncaster I felt we did enough to come back. We deserved it after coming back from two goals down and should have ended up with one point.
“In the second-half, our performance was outstanding against one of the so-called best passing teams in the division. In those two matches alone we were applauded off, yet only had one point to show for it.
“Against Barnsley we could have easily got a point. Having looked at those games in isolation, there are four points dropped there which would have put us into the top six. Instead we are a little further back, but we’re still in there.”
Closer to home and Grant Holt’s derby day heroics may have long ago etched themselves into Norfolk folklore, but for those who fancy a daily reminder of the Canary skipper’s glorious hat-trick against the oldest of enemies a specially-commissioned mug is now proving one of the festive season’s hotter gift ideas. Because not only do the ‘Big Beefy Bothersome Grant Holt Mugs’ celebrate City’s biggest-ever derby success over their nearest and dearest neighbours, they also help raise further funds for the whole ‘Movember’ movement – raising awareness of men’s health issues, in particular prostate and testicular cancer. “In just three days we’ve already raised £905 from the sale of the Big Beefy Bothersome Grant Holt Mugs,” said Nick Guyton, of Norfolk China – proud creators of the Holt mug; ‘avec-tache’, of course. Anyone interested in purchasing one of the mugs should click here: www.personalised4u.com