Halford: We’re starting to gel

112985_BRISTOL_CITY_V_PFC_20/08/11''Greg Halford pushes Nicky Maynard off the ball. ''NPower Championship match between Bristol City and Portsmouth FC at Bristol. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (112985-300)

112985_BRISTOL_CITY_V_PFC_20/08/11''Greg Halford pushes Nicky Maynard off the ball. ''NPower Championship match between Bristol City and Portsmouth FC at Bristol. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (112985-300)

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Greg Halford has called for Pompey patience.

The central defender is convinced Steve Cotterill’s men are gradually gelling into a Championship force.

It’s a process which has been steady rather than spectacular so far this season.

Nine players, including Halford, have arrived at Fratton Park since the summer.

Despite one defeat from their opening five league matches, the new-look Blues have not been at their most fluent.

Regardless, Pompey find themselves in 12th spot as they look to build on last season’s successful survival fight.

They also turned in an outstanding display last month to see off last year’s play-off finalists Reading.

Much-fancied West Ham are the opposition at Upton Park on Saturday.

But Halford believes the Blues players are beginning to develop understanding and are improving.

He said: ‘As a team it was always going to take a while for the new guys to settle in and learn how they play and how we play.

‘It has taken us more than a few games to get going but we are only going to get stronger.

‘If you bring a lot of players in like we have – and Leicester have done – it can take a long time to gel as a team.

‘That is part and parcel of football.

‘It takes time to learn and get that understanding.

‘Of course, with some teams it happens quicker than others.

‘Manchester City are still gelling as a team now. Suddenly they are looking like Premier League contenders.

‘Then there’s Leicester, who have brought in a lot of players but had a disappointing start to the season.

‘For some sides it is probably going to take a dozen games.

‘But I think we are starting to gel. We are not far off.’

Big-spending Leicester have just one more point than Pompey at present.

Yet the promotion favourites are six points off the top of the table.

It’s surely only a matter of time before they surge up the table.

As for Manchester City, they have enjoyed a scintillating start to the Premier League campaign.

Roberto Mancini’s men have won all three league matches so far and top the table alongside rivals Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Halford believes Pompey are on the up.

He added: ‘There has definitely been an improvement.

‘Just look from the start of the season.

‘We were conceding a couple of goals against Middlesbrough.

‘Since then we have let in two in our last four games, so we are getting better.

‘We are getting there.’

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