Pompey v Luton: Gaffer for a day

Pompey striker Conor Chaplin   Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Joe Pepler
Nathan Thompson. Picture: Sarah Standing

Pompey looking for history to repeat in cup

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Gaffer for a day Luke Atiyah looks ahead to Pompey’s clash with Luton.

This season has been a complete carbon copy of last season, so far.

It’s been frustrating at times but you have to be aware of how much of an improvement there has been in the last couple of years.

We seem to be a team that belongs somewhere between fourth and eighth position when obviously we want to crack into the top three.

I go to quite a few away games and have been lucky with those this season.

But seeing Pompey away does make you question whether there is a bit of an issue with some of the players playing at home in front of 17,000.

Because these are League Two players they maybe don’t have the strength of character to perform to the best of their abilities in front of them.

We have a sell-out today and the Fratton faithful, perhaps understandably, can be quick to anger if things aren’t going the way they wish.

In my humble opinion Paul Cook, for good and ill, is one of the most stubborn managers we have ever had.

But where you have such an emotional crowd the players perhaps are the ones to suffer the consequences of that.

Maybe they find it intimidating and we struggle to find the breakthrough.

In terms of team selection for Luton, I’d like to see us go 4-4-2.

And if he is going to play Michael Smith at home then I think he should also play Conor Chaplin.

I have always liked the ‘little and large’ partnership and I think when you have got a player like Chaplin on the field, you always have the potential to do something magical.

Smith on his own does an excellent job leading the line but if the players behind him like Gary Roberts or Carl Baker aren’t firing then we look absolutely toothless up front.