Sizzling Holmes too hot to handle for Rocks

Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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It was a scorching performance in the searing heat at Nyewood Lane.

Ricky Holmes was certainly too hot for Bognor to handle on a sweltering Saturday.

Ricky Holmes, right, celebrates his goal with fellow scorer Romain Padovani at Bognor on Saturday    Picture: Paul Jacobs

Ricky Holmes, right, celebrates his goal with fellow scorer Romain Padovani at Bognor on Saturday Picture: Paul Jacobs

The winger was among 11 changes Guy Whittingham made to his side at half-time, when the Blues were leading 1-0.

In the following 45 minutes, Holmes weighed in with a goal and two assists as the scoreline was settled 4-2 in the visitors’ favour.

For Pompey fans, it was the second opportunity to get a glimpse of the former Barnet man in action.

And Holmes was delighted with his performance on a wilting afternoon.

He said: ‘That is my job as a winger, I chip in with goals and hopefully get the most assists at the club.

‘I was involved in all three goals scored in the half I featured in and hopefully there is more to come.

‘The goal fell to me nicely. It was good football around the box, (Tom) Craddock just opened his body and laid it to me and I managed to put into the net.

‘There was a cross for Romain’s goal and then I stood one up for Craddock’s goal as well.

‘Bognor aren’t a bad side, don’t get me wrong, they keep the ball nicely and we are a new team.

‘I have never played with Craddock, I didn’t play with him the other night, so we are just getting to know each others’ games.

‘We can keep the ball better, definitely, but on a sticky pitch I thought we did well on Saturday.

‘We’ve now got two results from relatively good teams so I am quite pleased and I’m sure the gaffer is as well.

‘Everyone has got through without injuries, that is the main thing.’

On the hottest day of the year so far, the conditions were certainly testing for the Blues’ players.

Whittingham had long planned to field a different XI in the second half – sensible from a fitness point of view as well as the weather.

That ensured the 22 Pompey players on display performed for just 45 minutes in the baking sunshine.

For Holmes, though, it represented the ‘perfect’ weather.

He added: ‘We have been training in this heat so are pretty much used to it, but it is perfect for pre-season.

‘It’s draining, the pitch takes everything out of you and I feel sorry for some of their lads who had to do 90 minutes. We had to do only 45.

‘But it is perfect for pre-season. We are only working towards fitness.

‘It’s nice to get results but the main thing is to take it into the Football League.

‘We are definitely not there yet. We have been back for only two weeks, but in the games we all feel sharp, we all look sharp. You know you are only doing 45 minutes so you can give it a right go.

‘You have got nothing to reserve in the tank if you are only doing 45 so we can easily do that.

‘It’s the demand going up to 60 or 70 minutes, that’s when we are going to know if we are fit enough and whereabouts we are.’

Pompey face Braintree tomorrow (7.45pm), a fixture that comes in the middle of their training camp in Colchester.