TOWN kick off 2013 with a New Year’s Day clash against Portsmouth at The County Ground.
After two successive match postponements and only three fixtures across a usually busy December period, Swindon open the second half of the season against a Pompey side that they have already beaten earlier on in the campaign.
Manager Paolo Di Canio admits that he can’t wait to see his players back in action after the usual post-Christmas fixtures fell foul of the weather.
Speaking to the media ahead of the match, Di Canio believed it would be a big occasion for supporters of both teams.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I told all my players my frustrations because I want to see them play. They made me very happy in the last two games and I’m sure that they can keep going but we have to handle our frustration and turn it into a positive way. The first of January will be a big occasion. The crowd will be very good, the fans will come again with a lot of expectation. It will be fantastic.
“Obviously it’s not a real derby but Portsmouth will bring a lot of fans will which make for a better atmosphere. It is a typical game for a much better level than League One in my opinion so it will be a big occasion for everybody again to see our team in action and for the fans to have another good day.”
THE STORY SO FAR
Away from their off-field problems, Pompey have struggled on the pitch too and currently sit in the relegation places of League One. They last registered three points with a 3-1 win at Shrewsbury Town in October. Guy Whittingham was placed in temporary charge after the departure of Michael Appleton to Blackpool in November and since then, Pompey have only picked up three points thanks to three draws.
After their game at Hartlepool was postponed the Saturday before Christmas, they have lost their last two home games.
LAST TIME OUT
Swindon ran out 2-1 winners earlier on this season when the two sides met at Fratton Park. Matt Ritchie and Andy Williams secured the points. Tuesday’s tie will be the first league fixture between the two sides at The County Ground this century. On Boxing Day 1999, Chris Hay gave Swindon the lead before Steve Claridge notched an equaliser with nine minutes to play.
Portsmouth have a sound recent record at The County Ground, only losing once in their last six visits to Wiltshire. Current caretaker boss Guy Whittingham was in the last Pompey side to come away from SN1 with a defeat in February 1993. Paul Bodin’s late strike secured Glenn Hoddle’s men a 1-0 win.
Tickets for the match are still on sale either in person from the Box Office or by calling 0871 876 1993. You can also buy direct from the STFC Online Ticketing site - www.swindontownfc.talent-sport.co.uk