Gaffer for a Day: Newport County

Gaffer for a day James Ayles previews Pompey's clash with Newport.

Saturday, 12th March 2016, 11:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:31 pm
Pompey striker Marc McNulty Picture: Joe Pepler


aged 23,

from Gosport

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I don’t want to go overboard, but I’m expecting a late charge for automatic promotion – so obviously three points is needed against Newport County.

A win would also make it that third league success on the bounce for the first time, which has been a millstone around our neck.

With others at the top playing each other, including Plymouth going to Accrington this could be a chance to close the gap.

Newport County are going nowhere. They are out of play-off contention and you can’t see them going down.

But, historically this season, these are the games we have struggled with at home. I’ve got a season ticket and I’ve been left with a sinking feeling on these occasions far too often.

In terms of selection, I’d change tack with the forwards. Bringing in Marc McNulty for Michael Smith is the obvious change I would make. Smith is a good option on the bench.

Gary Roberts has started turning it on, but maybe isn’t the most mobile these days.

So we need someone with pace, and McNulty gives you that.

In terms of ability, I’d have Ben Close in over Danny Hollands, but you can’t argue with the fact we are winning with Hollands in the team.

He does show a desire for a fight and that has been seen after we were outfought at Barnet.

We’re in fourth place with 11 games to go.

We’re obviously better than we’ve been in the past, but probably not as good as we should be at times.

We’re back at home again and I hope we haven’t been given a false sense of confidence from Accrington.

This may not be plain sailing. We may need to be patient and it could be one we have to scrap out.