Confidence is key to Blues’ u-turn in form on travels

Ricardo Rocha
Ricardo Rocha
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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Ricardo Rocha believes Pompey’s new injection of confidence can fire their stuttering form on the road.

The Portuguese defender has seen the Blues take just two points from a possible 18 on their travels so far this term – a winless streak, with just two draws at Middlesbrough and Bristol City to show for their efforts.

In fact, Pompey have now suffered four straight defeats away from Fratton Park.

They travel to Derby on Saturday and Crystal Palace on Tuesday having last earned a point on the road back in August at Ashton Gate.

Defeats at West Ham, Hull City, Leeds and Ipswich have checked Pompey’s progress, despite a recent upturn in fortunes at home under caretaker managers Stuart Gray and Guy Whittingham.

And while it was a much-improved display at Portman Road last week in a luckless 1-0 reverse, the club’s last away victory was way back in March in a 1-0 success at Leicester City.

Rocha said: ‘We’ve had some good results at home lately and our confidence is growing.

‘Now we need to start finding some results playing away from home.

‘We have two difficult games against Derby and Crystal Palace but I’m sure we can get something from those games.

‘It’s hard to work out why it has happened like this. I just think we have been quite unlucky.

‘People might look at our results away from home and they haven’t been good but we have played well in most of those games.

‘There have maybe only been two games were we haven’t played well away from home.

‘So we have to keep on playing well and I’m sure it will turn for us.’

It remains to be seen whether Pompey will stick with their 4-4-2 formation for the trip to Pride Park – the kind of fixture that some would argue may be better suited to a more defensive line-up.

But Rocha hinted that the new strike combination of Luke Varney and Dave Kitson should be given the opportunity to continue their partnership – although, he is more than happy to trust in the decisions of Gray and Whittingham.

Rocha said: ‘Varney and Kitson are on fire and we need to keep their confidence as high as possible.

‘The first half against Doncaster was not too good but we came out in the second half and performed well. At Ipswich, we played unbelievably well and lost the game.

‘But we have two great men as our caretaker managers. Stuart is a really good guy and we like him a lot, while everyone likes Guy – he has been here many years and knows the club inside out.

‘We don’t know what’s happening in the future and it’s not worth thinking about that too much.

‘We will just concentrate on our next game and prepare for that.

‘We read about who may be coming or who may not be coming as manager but we just keep doing what we are doing every day and let the owners worry about that.’