Defender counts cost of slow starts

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss weighs up best attacking formula

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Paul Robinson is determined to eradicate Pompey’s sluggish starts.

The on-loan Blues defender saw his team 2-0 down inside 15 minutes in the 3-2 reverse to Accrington Stanley and it was not a one-off based on recent weeks.

In fact, Pompey have now found themselves behind early in the game in three out of their past four League Two fixtures and have ended up losing all of them when they have gifted an early initiative to their opponents.

The 3-0 defeat at Plymouth saw them concede the opener in the sixth minute and the 3-1 loss at Tranmere saw them fall behind inside just two minutes.

However, the 3-0 home wins over Morecambe and Carlisle both saw Pompey get the early goal and go on to claim comfortable victories.

Robinson was at a loss to explain it and insisted Pompey were ready.

He said: ‘It’s a wake-up call and it just goes to show that we need to be on the front foot from the first minute.

‘We need to be at it all over the pitch and be ready to dominate a game.

‘The lads were all up for it after the manager’s team talk.

‘But Accrington caused us a few problems and maybe we have to give them some credit for the way they set up and played.

‘It worked effectively for them in those first 20 minutes especially.

‘I’ve never started a game where I don’t feel ready.

‘If you are carrying an injury, you might be a little bit wary of that so you might start slowly.

‘But other than that, I don’t feel it’s a case of needing time to settle into the game or waiting to see what the opponents do.

‘We are professionals and it’s up to all of us to be ready from the very first whistle to stamp our authority on the game.’

The experienced centre-back also felt Pompey’s good recent home form might have played its part in a poor opening to the match.

He said: ‘Our away form has not been good but it’s hard to explain.

‘Maybe we took it for granted that we were at home and it was just going to happen. We can’t do that.’

– STEVE WILSON