STAN TERNENT would be delighted if his old mate Dave Jones is dancing around the Wembley pitch with the FA Cup in his hands tomorrow.
But Town’s manager is backing Portsmouth to come out on top in their showpiece showdown with Cardiff.
Ternent pitted his wits against Pompey as assistant manager of Derby back in January, with the chimes ringing out as the home side won 3-1 at Fratton Park.
“As well as having some very good players, Harry Redknapp has built a team which is big, strong and athletic – a real handful, in fact,” said Ternent.
“Their form has dipped a bit since they got to the final, but they’ve been without a couple of big players in David James and Sol Campbell.”
Both should be back to face Cardiff, and Ternent is also expecting big things from French midfielder Lassana Diarra.
Redknapp paid Arsenal £5.5m for the 23-year-old Parisian during the January transfer window – in Ternent’s view, a good bit of business.
“He’s different class,” he said. “I always liked the look of him when he was at Arsenal and I think he’ll be a big, big player for Portsmouth.
“He made his debut for them against Derby and was very effective.”
Ternent also believes Nigerian frontman John Utaka could be a useful weapon, explaining: “He’s a big, powerful player with a decent number of international caps, and you don’t get them for nothing.
“His presence shows the strength in depth of the Portsmouth squad and Harry, with all his years of experience, knows how to handle them.”
While Ternent is tipping Pompey to win the cup for only the second time in their history, he believes Cardiff will put up a real fight.
“I’ve seen them a couple of times this season and Jonah has got them very well organised.
“As people always say, it’s a one-off game, and you never know, but I do fancy Portsmouth to have that touch more power.
“I’m delighted for Jonah, though, because he’s had his ups and downs in the game but worked hard, and this is a reward for all that.
“In fact it’s great to see two blokes who have been in the management game for as long as myself getting their chance on the big stage.
“Some people call us old-school, whatever that means, and some say we’re dinosaurs, but there’s many a good tune played on an old fiddle!
“The FA Cup final is always a fantastic occasion, and tomorrow’s game has all the makings of a really good one.”