Appy calls on Pompey to tighten up

Greg Halford is suspended for today's game against Watford
Greg Halford is suspended for today's game against Watford
Dion Donohue. Picture: Colin Farmery

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MICHAEL APPLETON has called on Pompey to stamp out their defensive lapses for today’s visit of Watford (3pm).

The Blues were punished for slack marking on Saturday as David Nugent was given space in the box to head home Leicester’s leveller in an otherwise solid defensive display from the visitors.

It was the third match in succession that Pompey had been undone by crosses into the penalty area.

Appleton admits that trait is a worry. But he backed his men to get it right, starting with today’s clash against the Hornets at Fratton Park.

The Pompey manager said: ‘It is a concern. I’d be stupid to say it isn’t. For me, the past three goals we’ve conceded are balls into the box.

‘Every team will go through a period when they’re doing that but there’s only one way to deal with stuff I’m concerned with and that’s working hard on the training ground to try to put it right.

‘We have to be big and strong and deal with it. I think I’ve got an honest bunch of men to do that.’

Appleton faces a selection headache for today’s match, with Joel Ward and Greg Halford serving one-match suspensions after both players picked up their fifth yellow cards of the season at Leicester.

Ricardo Rocha could also miss out again because of a calf problem.

Appleton said: ‘Halford and Ward are suspended so it’s going to leave us a bit short. That’s going to be difficult.

‘We’ll have to juggle a few things.

‘It’s not going to be easy but sometimes you ask people to do different roles and get yourself out of a bit of a hole and that’s what we’re going to have to do.’