Blues star’s talks over role

Ricky Holmes is keen to play in his preferred position behind the strikers
Ricky Holmes is keen to play in his preferred position behind the strikers
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Ricky Holmes has sought talks with Andy Awford in an attempt to turn his season around.

The Blues forward offered a frank assessment of his start to the new campaign and admitted he has been struggling to reach the levels of last term.

Those efforts saw him land the player-of-the-year award but a back injury has affected his form and fitness this time around.

And Holmes hopes a discussion with the Blues boss over his preferred position will help him get back on track.

Asked how he felt he’d done this season, Holmes replied: ‘Terrible’.

He added: ‘It’s been a slow start. I got injured in pre-season and you are always playing catch-up with fitness.

‘It’s been stop-start but my game is about consistency and being sharp.

‘I haven’t been able to do that so far this season but I feel fully fit now.

‘I had a chat with the gaffer and told him I’d never been a winger before last season.

‘I got player of the year last season but you can get labelled if you have a good few games.

‘I told him playing in behind the strikers is my preferred role. I like to get on the ball and try to make things happen.

‘We will see what the gaffer picks but whatever he does, I will always give 100 per cent.

‘I just didn’t want him to think that I’m just a winger. So I wanted to remind him.’

Holmes was introduced to that role as a half-time substitute in a revamped midfield diamond in the 3-0 loss at Bury on Saturday.

It remains to be seen whether he will get the nod in a similar role at home to Stevenage tonight.

‘That’s the role I have always played in my career,’ said Holmes.

‘I’ve either played there or up front.

‘In the other system, we don’t play with wingers and that freezes me out of the team.

‘I hate being on the bench and I want to show what I can do – like I did at the back end of last season and carry that on.

‘This is what I live to do. I just want to be out there showing what I can do.

‘We can’t rely on the defence to keep clean sheets all the time.

‘Us at the top of the pitch need to start doing our jobs better. All of us.’

The 27-year-old is also keen to see Pompey make a swift response to show that the trip to Gigg Lane was just a bad day at the office.

Holmes added: ‘If we can get a win against Stevenage, we will be back on the road again.

‘We can’t get too downbeat over one bad result when we didn’t turn up as a team.

‘We need to pick ourselves up because, if we start feeling sorry for ourselves, you can get into a rut.

‘And I don’t think we are in a rut.

‘We need to get that swagger and confidence back. That only comes with performances and results.

‘But I remember when Crewe were right down the bottom at Christmas and then went on to get promoted that season.

‘We were in a lot worse position last season, and with three more games we could have nicked a play-off position.

‘A couple of wins and we’ll be back on track again.’