Gaffer: I’ve never seen Ben Close in better form for Portsmouth

Gaffer for a Day, Martin Wake, aged 37 from Copnor, analyses Pompey’s 5-1 win over Bradford...

By Neil Allen
Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 11:13 am
Updated Sunday, 3rd March 2019, 12:20 pm
Gareth Evans opens the scoring against Bradford from the penalty spot. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gareth Evans opens the scoring against Bradford from the penalty spot. Picture: Joe Pepler

What did you make of that?

It was a strange game, I didn't expect that outcome, but Bradford were really, really poor.

Having said that, it was good how aggressive and positive we were, with Ronan Curtis, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans having much more energy about them.

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As a team, the confidence and swagger seemed to be back, especially down the wings, where we were really bright.

In the opening 30 minutes you knew we were in for a really good performance and in the end it could have been six or seven.

You named Ben Close your man of the match then?

Yes, he dictated play, everything went through him, while he seems more confident in now demanding the ball from centre-backs.

Plus he has added goals to his game, with another two on Saturday.

I have never seen him play as well as this, he’s getting better every week and hopefully stays fit and in form for the remainder of the season.

I wasn’t that convinced about Close during the middle of last season, there were a few tackles he didn’t go in for, but now he is. He’s more commanding and has an improved presence about him.

Ever witnessed drone stopped play before?

Definitely not, the first time I’ve seen that happen at a football match.

It was bizarre, I was sat in the Fratton end and it took a while to realise what was going on. There were a few people pointing upwards at something.

Then I noticed a little blip. Unfortunately you’ve got to stop the game, you never know in this day and age the reason behind it.

I understand the referee's actions and this sort of thing may happen more and more.  

What do you think of Pompey’s promotion chances?

I still think we are a little bit short, unfortunately, but we did overachieve earlier in the season.

The blip was going to come and it happened at a really important time in the campaign.

Winning at Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy and the play-off final would be fine by me!

I would say the league is Luton’s, I don’t see weakness happening with them. The manager has gone and they seem to have gone up another level, which is frightening.

Sunderland will get the other promotion spot, they are just too strong on paper, with the likes of Will Grigg and Aiden McGeady.


Craig MacGillivray 8

Nathan Thompson 8

Christian Burgess 7

Matt Clarke 7

Lee Brown 8

Tom Naylor 8

Jamal Lowe 7

Ben Close 9

Gareth Evans 8

Ronan Curtis 9

Oli Hawkins 8