Ryan Bird: Pompey are destined for promotion

Ryan Bird and Matt Clarke do battle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ryan Bird and Matt Clarke do battle. Picture: Joe Pepler

Geovanni, right, celebrates his goal on trial for Pompey with Noe Pamarot

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Pompey have been told they should have ‘no worries’ about escaping League Two this season.

That is the verdict of Ryan Bird, who was part of the Yeovil side which held the Blues to a goalless draw on Saturday.

It was about not letting them penetrate in behind us and letting their centre backs have it, but when they got near our half-way line we had to press them

Ryan Bird

Returning to Fratton Park for the first time since his September 2014 departure, the striker helped Paul Sturrock’s strugglers to a useful point.

The Glovers had to defend for long periods, especially in the second half, as the hosts strived to break them down.

Yet the match finished 0-0, prompting some of the Fratton faithful to boo at the final whistle.

But Bird is convinced Paul Cook’s fourth-place side are destined for promotion.

He said: ‘I think they’ll go up this year by finishing in the top three.

‘I still think they will do it, most teams will go to Fratton Park and won’t be able to handle the pressure and I think the fans will act as the 12th man.

‘They seem to be better away from home at the moment when you look at the results, though.

‘But Pompey did impress me, keeping the ball in tight areas and working it from one side of the pitch to the other.

‘They did that really well, I was impressed. In the first half I was shattered!

‘They will definitely go up, though, top three, no worries.’

It took a superb 22-minute stop from Aaron McCarey to deny Bird marking his return with a goal.

The on-loan keeper flung himself to his right to somehow fingertip away the 27-year-old’s header from a right-wing corner.

It was a rare goal-scoring opportunity in a match of precious few chances.

Bird added: ‘I was disappointed with that, I could have got a cleaner connection maybe further into the far post, but it was a good save by the keeper.

‘I actually thought it was in. Although I wouldn’t have celebrated out of respect, I was gutted it didn’t go in.

‘We are happy with a point, though, I thought we defended really well and held our own to be fair, with the crowd almost sucking the ball into the net.

‘We had a game plan, to keep them in front of us, let them pass the ball and we could shuffle across – and that is exactly what we did.

‘It was about not letting them penetrate in behind us and letting their centre backs have it, but when they got near our half-way line we had to press them.

‘We worked hard in training all week about keeping our shape, keeping our line, two banks of four, not letting them penetrate and it paid off.’

– NEIL ALLEN

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