We must keep focus for Plymouth trip

Christian Burgess looks on dejected while Plymouth celebrate. Picture: Joe Pepler

Christian Burgess looks on dejected while Plymouth celebrate. Picture: Joe Pepler

Loyalty set to be Cook’s Pompey policy in League One

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Leyton Orient represented a big win for us.

Sometimes you can end up over-analysing results but, regardless of what happened in the game’s 95 minutes, everyone put in shifts and worked hard to get that 1-0 result.

Now we look to Plymouth, an occasion which will no doubt be labelled must-win, a huge game, a six pointer and all the other clichés.

Yet it would not be the end of the world if we lost, the season wouldn’t suddenly finish. Not that I am saying that is going to happen, of course!

The outcome, whatever it may be, will send out a big message to the rest of League Two.

I must admit, the play-off second leg still rankles with me, but our players need to remain focused and let their feet do the talking.

Covering the game for Express FM, we had their supporters literally in our faces at the final whistle and had to take it.

Meanwhile, their supporters invaded the pitch and all credit to our fans for showing great restraint in what was quite a volatile situation.

You have to remain level-headed and focused about this fixture, otherwise it could have a negative effect on the result.

I’ve appeared in matches where players are so wound up that tackles fly in and red cards are handed out with personal battles getting out of hand. You just have to remain focused.

Derek Adams has revamped his team from last season, which will bring us up against a familiar face in Sonny Bradley.

I was on Pompey’s coaching staff when Sonny arrived in May 2013 and he’s a nice unassuming lad who showed his face at functions and handled himself well around the place.

His time at Fratton Park wasn’t earth shattering, but I do think some of the criticism fired at him by supporters is a bit harsh.

He arrived here as a 21-year-old and it was a learning curve trying to cope with the pressure of performing in front of 16,000 crowds.

Nowadays he is 25 and matured from a time at Crawley which saw him made captain, while they spoke highly of him.

The fact he has now scored three times for Plymouth this season highlights how his side must be very good at set-pieces, an aspect very important at this level.

Sonny probably didn’t have his best times here, but some people can be very harsh on players.

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