PAOLO Di Canio says that his players must 'smell the atmosphere' at Fratton Park this evening as Town target three points.
Speaking ahead of the clash with Portsmouth, the manager was full of praise for the supporters of the south coast club.
"I have such sympathy with the club because their fans, like ours, are amazing," he said. "They are one of the most loyal fans in the world because they always commit 100% to the club. On the first day of the season there were 18 or 19 thousand. The last game, even in a bad moment, 11 thousand so for me it’s important as a manager to smell the atmosphere and my players have to feel the same - like when we went to the Britannia Stadium against Stoke."
Despite their perilous financial position, Di Canio declared that Portsmouth's league standing betrayed their status as a top club.
He continued: "Even if they play in League One with us, the feeling and the atmosphere is like a club at the top level. Portsmouth is still a top club - the fans are amazing and unfortunately for them they don’t know what’s going on in the future so I’m very sorry for them.
"I love to know - especially in England - that clubs are healthy because in Italy it is common. They have clubs that can disappear in five months. In England it was unusual to discover that already Port Vale and Plymouth were in this situation. Even if Port Vale are near the top of League Two this is amazing – it proves the desire and loyalty of the players and the people that work but I would like to see all clubs healthy because the fans can’t pay the price for some bad management."