MATT Ritchie returns to a former stomping ground this afternoon, where he’s likely to be marked by a man he used to play alongside at Swindon Town.
The winger spent a four-month spell on loan at Notts County towards the end of 2009, featuring 19 times and scoring three goals for a Magpies setup which was undergoing some pretty revolutionary changes.
At the time, ex-England boss Sven Goran Eriksson was starting out on his ill-fated appointment at Meadow Lane and the Swede’s involvement, as well as other factors, made the club feel a little fragile at the time according to Ritchie.
“It wasn’t too long. At the time there were things going on behind the scenes with managers and who owned the club and things like that. It was a little bit mixed and we didn’t really know what was going on and it was a bit unstable,” he said.
“I enjoyed my time there, the lads were good and there are still a couple of them left there now so it will be nice to see some faces and hopefully we can get three points and win the game.
“He (Eriksson) was there at the time. He wasn’t the manager at the time but he was on the scene, part of the recruitment and he had a big part to play.
“There was a change of manager when I was there, that wasn’t down to results because we were doing well, I think it was more to do with personalities. It was a good club and it will be a tough game.
“(Paolo Di Canio and Eriksson) are very different. To be honest, Sven wasn’t involved in training. I didn’t really know him that well and he’s obviously a different personality - that’s what you get in football.”
Lining up against Ritchie this afternoon could be a familiar face to the 23-year-old. Alan Sheehan spent two seasons at Town between 2009 and 2011, and on occasion supported Ritchie down the left.
The former Pompey man is expecting an interesting battle against his old teammate today.
“He’ll know what I’m about and I’ll know what he’s about. Hopefully it will be whoever uses his head better, hopefully that will be me,” he said.
“He’s a top man. He used to get his head down, work hard and he’s got a good left foot so I’m sure if I do start I’ll have to be aware of that.”