Mansfield v Pompey: Gaffer for a day

Gaffer for a day Olly Birch would play Michael Smith in Gary Roberts absence

Gaffer for a day Olly Birch would play Michael Smith in Gary Roberts absence

Today saw Pompey's fixtures for the 2017-18 season released

Pompey Talk: Blues fixtures discussed

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Gaffer for a day Olly Birch previews Pompey’s trip to Mansfield

Looking at the final 10 matches, I think Pompey will finish third on 81 points, with Oxford United second.

Bristol Rovers are also worth watching if they can keep up their current amazing run. They also have the best run-in of everyone.

We also have some decent fixtures remaining, with all our away teams in the lower half of the table. I think we can do it.

Last week’s match against Newport County was a strange game. Basically, when Gary Roberts plays badly so do Pompey.

He slows the play up, we are not always as quick with him in the team and last weekend he gave the ball away continuously, none of his clever through balls came off. Then he got the red card!

Yet he was superb at Accrington – although will obviously miss tomorrow’s trip to Mansfield.

I would bring in Michael Smith instead, with Marc McNulty operating behind as part of the attacking three.

I thought Smith led the line really well at Accrington with everyone feeding off him brilliantly – then he was dropped last weekend.

I like him, he’s had a couple of quiet games but is not just a target man, he is good with his feet as well.

As for McNulty, I believe he is better behind the main striker, he can look lost leading the line. I can see him linking up well with Smith.

You look at our season as a whole and if it wasn’t for those last-minute goals we would be in the top three.

Regardless, we have won 15 League Two so far – that is the most in a league campaign since 2007-08!

Although I almost prefer it when Pompey were rubbish because nobody has any expectations. Now you go to match and there is a negative buzz around.

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