Earlier in the season, Portsmouth marched into Berkshire and turned an early 2-0 deficit against Reading into a 3-2 win. It was the type of performance often associated with that of Champions-elect.

I had only stopped in at the Select Car Leasing Stadium that day to wish happy birthday to a friend of a friend, I needed to leave before kick-off to catch the train to London to commentate on a Premier League game that evening.

It was all a bit tight from a timing point of view, but as long as I caught a particular train from Green Park it would all work out. But that never happened.

Instead, I spent half an hour, missing train after train, hiding behind a parked car outside the new apartments on Green Park as hundreds of Pompey fans spewed out of Reading’s newest train station and up towards the stadium.

For those who don’t know, my time at Portsmouth was blighted by a chronic mental health breakdown and two club administrations that brought the club to very brink of going out of existence.

As one of the higher earners at the club, I became the focal point of the anger spilling down from the stands at Fratton Park, particularly when I took to the pitch looking anything like a footballer as I struggled to cope with my demons.

Believe me, the anger of the fans from that time is still very real in Portsmouth. After all, until the club returns to the Premier League, there will always be a perception among the faithful that they are still paying for the mistakes of the past. 

The thought of fronting it out by walking through hundreds of them is about as appealing as milking a cow without using my hands. As I often tell my kids, there is a subtle difference between being brave and being a complete idiot!

So there we crouched, myself and my 12-year-old son for what felt like hours, the progress of the Pompey fans delayed by a brief snack raid on an unsuspecting Tesco Express opposite the station.

What was noticeable about the Pompey fans that day is that this wasn’t just another away day for them. They were in full voice. Confident. After years in the doldrums, there was a real sense that just maybe this could be the season in which they escaped League One and headed back to the Championship.

The nature of their win that day has only emboldened supporters of the south coast side and this weekend they’ll head into the reverse fixture on top of the League One table with games rapidly ruining out.

As for Reading, a nice run of results has lifted spirits around the town, with Tuesday’s draw at Fleetwood making it six games unbeaten – a stat that at one point seemed about as likely as anybody ever completing pi.

I’ve never actually thought that Reading would go down. Sitting in 16th place, four points clear of the relegation zone, has given even more reason for optimism.

January was an important month. I was delighted to see Femi Azeez stay put. He rewarded us with two spectacular volleys on Saturday, which reminded me of my second goal against Alan Pardew’s West Ham all those years ago at the same end. I’d love to see our goals side by side, but my editing skills are not as good as my volleying once was.

Obviously, the longer Reading can maintain this current form the better off we’ll all be. Playing the league leaders is a great opportunity to send out a message to the other sides looking over their shoulder at a time of the season that demands players to step up, rather than hide behind parked cars.

But when the pressure is on and the enemy outnumber you, that’s easier said than done.

Talking of teams doing well, I’m proud of the boys at Reading Blue Coat School. My coaching journey started there last year, before I set up The Dave Kitson Academy.

Blue Coat had never previously progressed beyond the first round of any cup competition, but fast forward to now and the current crop have reached the quarter-finals of two cup competitions and are in the semi-finals of another.

I’m also delighted with the feedback I’m getting from my one to one and group coaching sessions, with a number of parents reporting that their son or daughter has taken on board my advice about the importance of following up on rebounds and applied that to good effect in games.

I’m always keen to help players develop and with that in mind, I am visiting the Ajax academy later this month. I’m sure I will be implementing some of what I see there in my future coaching sessions.

If you are interested in booking a one to one or group coaching session with me, please get in touch via my website: www.davekitsonacademy.com