Gaffer: Portsmouth cannot afford successive defeats at Oxford United
Gaffer for a Day, Matt Wheatley, aged 41 from Didcot, Oxfordshire, previews Pompey’s trip to Oxford United...
I saw the game against Blackpool and clearly it wasn’t a great performance – as we all acknowledge.
Some of the players said afterwards that we didn’t miss Ben Thompson, but it was obvious the midfield formation just didn’t work.
It does worry me how we’re into a key part of the season and that area, which has been really effective up until now, has been badly disrupted.
It’s what cost us a place in the play-offs last season, but hopefully we can quickly find a solution and hang onto one of the top-two places. If Thompson does come back then it will make that more likely
Gareth Evans has been a revelation this season, but he’s best suited to the more advanced role, getting into good goal-scoring positions and also chasing back to break up the opposition’s attacks.
I know it was only a cameo appearance, but I thought Andy Cannon looked quite comfortable on the ball when he came on. He could be the one we pair up with Naylor, who I think has been excellent this season.
I’ve lived in the Oxfordshire area on and off for the past 20 years, so have mates who are Oxford fans.
When we beat them 4-1 at the start of this season they looked really poor and have since been in real danger of going down. Their results have picked up, but still find themselves in the fourth relegation spot.
Every time I see James Henry play he looks a real danger, so I think we need to keep a close eye on him. Jordan Graham, a winger on loan from Wolves, was their man of the match against Fleetwood so he’s another to try to stop.
It’s essential we get back to winning ways and certainly don’t end up losing. A successive defeat will affect confidence and have us looking over our shoulder at the chasing pack.
Charlton, in particular, are in good form at the moment.
Matt’s Pompey line-up
Craig MacGillivray, Anton Walkes, Jack Whatmough, Matt Clarke, Dion Donohue, Tom Naylor, Andy Cannon, Jamal Lowe, Gareth Evans, Ronan Curtis, Brett Pitman.