Teamwork the secret to Pompey set-pieces

Kal Naismith was gaffer for a day Phil Whyte's man of the match against Cambridge United. Photo by Joe Pepler

Pompey 2 Cambridge United 1: Gaffer for a day

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Three goals in three games has made Bondz N’Gala a new set-piece hero for Pompey.

But Guy Whittingham believes it is a team ethic which is reaping dividends for the Blues from corners.

The Pompey training staff have been working hard on their variety of routines from dead-ball situations all season.

Focus is upped in those areas each Friday – and today will see how to best set about continuing their corner potency at Torquay.

Whittingham believes it is attention to detail which makes all the difference.

He said: ‘It’s a team effort on and off the pitch.

‘You are successful as a squad and a group of staff. It’s not individuals.

‘You always work on them. Sometimes they come off but the majority of times they don’t because people defend against them.

‘You have to be really accurate in what you do.

‘Bondz is getting them on target, so it’s pleasing when it does happen.

‘We look at every opposition and how we may be able to score set plays against them.

‘Everything changes, whether it’s a long corner or short corner.

‘We have certain routines we go through and certain ways of pulling the opposition to where we want them to go to.’

Meanwhile, Whittingham has welcomed Ryan Bird’s return to the Pompey first-team picture as they go to Torquay tomorrow.

The man who has made the step up from non-league Burnham in the summer has come back into the Pompey boss’ thinking after a loan stay at the Hawks.

Bird was given a 19-minute outing in the 1-0 win over Bury last weekend and was on the bench for Tuesday’s abandoned game with Wycombe.

Whittingham underlined the 25-year-old is part of his plans at Fratton Park.

He wants him to keep working and focus on the areas of his game which saw him come to Pompey’s attention.

Whittingham said: ‘Ryan did well when he came on against Bury.

‘He was a pest to them and is a fit kid. Despite his size, he’s quite quick and can jump well.

‘He chases lost causes as well and is very enthusiastic on the pitch.

‘He is learning. When you come in you want to become a better footballer but you have to remember the strengths you have.

‘His strength is he can finish and he can run, jump and pester people.

‘We’ll keep reminding him to do that and the other bits will come along.

‘He is a part of things.’

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