Doyle: We have to handle Pompey tension

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey last played Blackburn Rovers in April 2010, when both sides were in the Premier League. Picture: Steve Reid

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MICHAEL DOYLE is ready to face a ‘hostile’ Fratton Park against Cambridge United.

The Pompey skipper told his team-mates they have to handle the pressure if Blues fans vent their frustrations tomorrow.

Tension is mounting going into the clash with the U’s following a run of one win from seven games.

Emotions boiled over at Barnet on Tuesday night after a disappointing 1-0 loss saw Paul Cook’s side fall to their lowest position of the season.

Doyle acknowledged supporters after the defeat, which many appreciated.

Others, however, made their disappointment apparent after a poor result against the Bees.

The 34-year-old stated after the game the focus now has to be on the play-offs for Pompey, with the gap nine points to Oxford in the third automatic promotion berth.

He told his team-mates they will now be written off in the hunt to go up.

But, with 15 games to go, the test remains to go on a winning run – and that has to be the case even if angst again rears its head.

Doyle said: ‘It’s about ourselves now.

‘Everyone is going to write us off – and rightly so.

‘When you’ve had results like the last few weeks that will be the case.

‘We’ve drawn at Yeovil, drawn at Morecambe and lost at Barnet. People are asking questions.

‘People are writing us off, but it’s about sticking together now.

‘Fratton Park could be hostile on Saturday now. You have to deal with it.

‘At some point things are going to change.

‘But we have to make that point sooner rather than later if we expect to get promoted.

‘We need to do that now.’

Doyle spoke about the pressure Pompey faced going into their last home game against Bristol Rovers two weeks ago.

Cook’s side now face a similar situation, as former Blues man Shaun Derry brings his team to Fratton Park.

Doyle highlighted having to deal with expectation is nothing new to his team, and it’s something they’ve had to contend with all season.

Despite saying the focus should now be on making the top seven, he underlined a conviction in the ability of his team-mates.

‘We’ve spoke about the pressure since we’ve been here,’ said Doyle.

‘Barnet wasn’t the first time we’ve had that.

‘We’ve had the pressure of Fratton Park since the start of the season.

‘We thrived on the pressure earlier in the season but we’re going though a bad time now.

‘We need to get back to how we were when we were getting plaudits at the start of the season.

‘It’s hard and frustrating. We have to dig deep, get our heads down and get on with it.

‘We want to achieve something here.

‘We’ve lost a game, but we know we’ve got the players and characters to get promoted.’

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