Ben Davies sharpens up on Pompey set-pieces

Ben Davies, centre. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ben Davies, centre. Picture: Joe Pepler
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It took a bit of persuasion but Ben Davies got there in the end.

Having been involved in taking free-kicks at most of his previous clubs, the Pompey right-back found himself on the outside looking in.

With Gary Roberts tasked with supplying the ammunition from set-pieces during the early part of the season, Davies was left with his defensive duties.

But after Roberts was ruled out, the 34-year-old saw his chance and stated his case during training.

And now he is always in the frame as Pompey assess their options on their attacking set-pieces.

Davies said: ‘I just started creeping into them a bit more.

‘Gary Roberts got injured so I was getting involved in training and saying to Leam Richardson “I’ll take one, I’ll take one”.

‘So it’s nice I’ve got myself on them now.

‘You have to run a bit further to get there and then back.

‘But I’ve taken them at most of the clubs I have been at in my career.

‘It’s been nice to be able to contribute towards a couple of goals lately.’

Pompey are certainly not a team that is reliant on their threat from a dead ball.

But Davies knows that it can be useful weapon, especially in tight games.

And there is a huge percentage of goals scored from set-plays throughout all levels of football.

He said: ‘Some teams can go up or go down on their set-pieces.

‘I’ve known teams get out of this league based on set-pieces and just being organised and keeping goals out at the other end.

‘They are a huge part of the game.

‘They are so important and can make all the difference between a 0-0 draw and a 1-0 win.’

Paul Cook’s style of play has given both Davies and Enda Stevens on the opposite flank the opportunity to get involved with the attacks.

In fact, both have proved hugely important, especially when trying to break down stubborn opponents in certain fixtures this season.

Davies said: ‘Myself and Enda like to get forward quite a lot and get into crossing positions.

‘It’s good that the manager wants us to do that.

‘We work on that quite a lot during the week so it’s always good to do our bit in terms of providing goals.

‘Enda is playing really well at the minute and we both know if we put the ball in the right place, we’ve got the players to take advantage and put it away.

‘If we get the delivery right from wide areas, we have players who are good enough to take advantage of that.

‘We just have to get it into the right areas for them.’

Davies is also relishing a busy festive period as Pompey travel to Leyton Orient on Boxing Day and then host Luton Town at Fratton Park two days later.

And the former Sheffield United man has no problem with the frantic fixture list.

He said: ‘We’ve been doing a lot of conditioning work over the season so I’m sure we will be able to cope with it.

‘It can be a mental thing as well as physical over the Christmas period.

‘Sometimes it can be a case of who wants it more. You have to dig deep at times.

‘But when we have full allocation of away fans or a big crowd at Fratton Park, you do it for them.

‘We’ve got a bit of momentum and had some good wins lately but we need to keep it going and find that consistency now.

‘But when you win 6-0 and 4-0 in your last two home games, you know you are doing something right.’