“Touching Distance” – Derby County Star Backs His Side To Pip Portsmouth To League One Title

Derby County midfielder Conor Hourihane has admitted that Portsmouth are still within “touching distance” ahead of the final eight games of the season.

At the end of February, the Rams suffered a blip in form by losing two consecutive matches away at fellow promotion hopefuls Barnsley and at home to Charlton Athletic, casting a massive shadow on the teams’ chances of reaching the automatic promotion places.

However, now on a three-game winning streak in League One, Paul Warne’s side are right back in the top two and sit merely five points below league leaders Portsmouth, with a massive clash against third-place Bolton Wanderers to come this Saturday afternoon.

If Derby County can move within three points of Pompey over the coming weeks, a trip to Fratton Park will come as a potentially title-deciding fixture at the beginning of April as Warne’s men currently have a superior goal difference on the team in first place.

Former Republic of Ireland international Hourihane certainly believes his side can pip Portsmouth to the title while admitting that this weekend could prove to be an important one in the race for glory. Speaking to club media, the 33-year-old said:

“We’re all looking at each other now after every game. When we lost a couple, especially the Barnsley one, that hurt. It’s just the way it goes.

“I still feel that Portsmouth are not too far away, they are in touching distance and I feel whoever handles things the best in the last few games will get over the line.

“We know it’s a big game [against Bolton], you can’t get away from it. Peterborough play Portsmouth each other as well on Saturday, so it will be a big weekend for the top four or five teams,” Hourihane continued.

“If we can get the result that we all want, it will give us a real good platform going into the last seven games. Everyone is looking forward to it.”

Writer’s View

Hourihane is correct in his assessment that this weekend could be massive for adding twists and turns to the title race. Portsmouth have to go to Peterborough which won’t be an easy task as Darren Ferguson’s men are currently on a five-game winning run.

The ideal scenario for Derby County would be to win at Pride Park against Bolton Wanderers on Saturday while Pompey either draw or lose at the Weston Homes Stadium, meaning the game at Fratton Park on April 2nd between the top two is arguably the biggest match of the season.

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About Adam Scully 764 Articles
Deputy Head of Writing

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