Hollands: Width key for Pompey

Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Danny Hollands is convinced the return of the 4-4-2 system can bring out the best in Pompey’s squad.

Andy Awford has sidelined the oft-criticised wing-back formation for the past two matches in favour of employing a familiar formation.

The results were instant, defeating Stevenage 3-2 at Fratton Park for a first win in seven.

The Blues boss retained the 4-4-2 and the same starting line-up for Saturday’s trip to Shrewsbury, which finished in a 2-1 loss.

Nonetheless, the fixture saw Pompey end their barren away run of 463 minutes without a goal – Jed Wallace netting with a penalty.

But for Connor Goldson’s fluke goal from distance 18 minutes from time, the visitors would have left Greenhous Meadow clutching a thoroughly-deserved point.

The Blues presently find themselves in 14th spot in League Two, albeit three points from the play-off places.

And Hollands believes the previous two displays have shown how the recent change of system suits the side.

He said: ‘It is not my job to say how we should line-up, it’s the manager’s and I think he is doing a great job.

‘But with the squad and players we have I think we have to play with width and when we do, we are better.

‘That is my personal opinion. You can ask another 15,000 Pompey fans and they might tell you something completely different.

‘When you look at the players we have got out wide – such as Andy Barcham, Ricky Holmes and Jed Wallace – they can all make things happen on the day.

‘And I think if you have got that within your team you have half a chance of winning the game.

‘Then you have a central midfield two and I am enjoying playing with Dunnie, he is a great lad and a great player – the same when Nige (Atangana) comes in.

‘When teams play three in there it is a little bit more difficult to do.

‘You are pressing and might be leaving that one off the front man spare, so it is a hard thing to do.

‘Once we got to grips with Shrewsbury’s man in midfield I thought it was an even game and could have gone either way.

‘The way we lost was a bit gut-wrenching but I believe things are slowly turning and the last two performances have been good, so we have got to be positive and go again.’

Up next for Pompey are Carlisle – a team in 20th spot and on their second manager of the campaign – at Fratton Park on Saturday.

And Hollands is confident the Blues are on their way to turning around their own disappointing results.

He added: ‘We have got to remember there is still a lot of time to go in the season and I have a feeling we will get our just rewards.

‘Maybe we should have a few more points on the board. We know that but it is hopefully going to turn and we can get the results we deserve.

‘There’s a great bunch of lads here. We are honest lads and know when it is good enough and not good enough.

‘I feel we are in a good place. I am sure it will start coming.’