Pompey v Oxford: Gaffer for a day

Scott Harris previews the Pompey v Oxford game.

Saturday, 23rd January 2016, 10:30 am
Adam Barton could be a key figure Picture: Joe Pepler

This is the biggest game of the season, massive, especially with our matches in hand.

If we win we put the pressure on teams above – and let’s not forget Oxford United lost their last game and are under pressure themselves.

I wouldn’t say it was a must-win fixture, but for us it is a must-not lose. If we lose we will fall further away from the top three – at a least a draw would keep us in touch.

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I don’t care how we get promotion, I would gladly take third spot. It would be lovely to win it but let’s just get out of this division.

It’s something I think can be achieved, we are starting to click now and Marc McNulty is crucial. Hopefully we can get Caolan Lavery back as well.

We looked good against Ipswich in the FA Cup and the three behind the striker have really gelled together, so things are looking good.

I would name the same side for Oxford, which would mean Christian Burgess continuing in place of Matt Clarke.

Nothing against Clarke and Adam Webster as a partnership, it’s just that I do have my reservations about two young players in that position as they might make errors.

Paul Cook has actually assembled a very good squad and compare it now to the dross assembled previously over the years. Ben Chorley makes Clarke look like a world-beater.

I can see Burgess’ flaws, don’t got me wrong, but he has more experience than Clarke so should be in there ahead of him at this stage.

It crucial we stop Liam Sercombe and Kemar Roofe – if you do then you win the game.

Adam Barton could also be influential, at their place we saw him come on at half-time and absolutely change the game by putting his foot on the ball.