Fixture breather can get Pompey firing

Guy Whittingham feels a full week of focus can get Pompey firing at Oldham.

Wednesday, 20th February 2013, 3:34 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 8:56 pm

The Blues boss believes some breathing space after a frenetic period of fixtures can reap attacking dividends at Boundary Park.

Pompey have faced an unrelenting run of seven games in 22 days, culminating in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Carlisle.

That spate of outings also included gruelling midweek trips to Scunthorpe and Hartlepool.

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Goals have been hard to come by recently, with just two strikes arriving in the past four games.

Whittingham admits the run of matches with an ever-changing side has made it tough to prepare on the front foot.

But he insists a clear run gearing up for the trip to Oldham on Saturday can make all the difference.

Whittingham said: ‘It’s easier to organise your team defensively than offensively for games.

‘We’ve had different players on the training pitch every week.

‘It’s been hard to get on the training pitch with the amount of days we’ve had and work with them and get some forward pattern of play going.

‘You are almost putting people in places and telling them to go and play, enjoy themselves and be creative without getting too many ideas into them.

‘We’ve got a free week this week so hopefully we can get a bit more into players about attacking patterns of play and forward play.

‘In the time it took us to get back from Hartlepool, we could have flown to America.

‘It’ll be nice not to have a week with any travelling because that will take it out of the players as well.’

The past two matches have seen Pompey find a relative air of defensive stability after a shaky period.

A single goal conceded in those meetings with Hartlepool and Carlisle followed a run of 19 goals being shipped in seven games.

Crucially, the Blues have halted their unnerving tendency to concede from set-pieces.

Whittingham explained there has been no change in preparations for games or extra focus on cutting out mistakes in that area.

The caretaker boss believes it is down to the hunger being shown to do the right things defensively.

And Whittingham is now demanding the desire to get it right at the back continues as Pompey travel to the Latics on Saturday.

He said: ‘We haven’t been doing anything differently since we came here. Everything has been the same with set-pieces.

‘But it has seemed that we were conceding from every one that came in.

‘Everyone was worried about it, but now, in the past few games, we’ve defended really well from set plays.

‘Hopefully, I haven’t put the mockers on it by saying that.

‘But nothing has changed – it’s the determination to stick with your man and win that first header.

‘Now we need to keep that consistency up.’