Break has made Blues crisp for Walkers clash

Liam Lawrence celebrates his second goal in the 6-1 win over Leicester in September
Liam Lawrence celebrates his second goal in the 6-1 win over Leicester in September
Danny Rose, right, is hopeful he will seal a new Blues deal. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Liam Lawrence believes Pompey will be rejuvenated in time for tomorrow’s trip to Leicester.

The Blues have negotiated a hectic run of fixtures and it’s the first time in three weeks that there has been no midweek game for them.

After last Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Middlesbrough, it’s given Pompey a welcome opportunity to prepare themselves for the weekend trip to Leicester and allow some of the minor injuries to heal.

Despite returning last weekend after a stint out with a calf injury, Lawrence himself has picked up a niggle during training.

But he is expected to be back in the squad for tomorrow’s trip to the Walkers Stadium.

And the midfielder thinks boss Steve Cotterill has done all he can to protect his threadbare squad.

Lawrence said: ‘It’s been a good week to recharge the batteries for the squad.

‘We’ve had seven games in three weeks or whatever it is.

‘It’s been a long three weeks but we’ve had a free week.

‘Everyone can see what we’ve done and been put through this year as a team, manager and staff. It’s been one hell of a struggle.

‘But to have achieved what we’ve done is testament to the coaching staff and the players.

‘Now we’ve got a tough game at Leicester and we’ve had so many games in this short period.

‘We’ve not got the biggest squad in the world, so it’s been tough on the lads but with me coming back, it’s another player.

‘I don’t know if there is a way to keep everyone fresh in a run like we’ve had.

‘You can give the players one or two days off but with that many games you can’t afford to do that.

‘You’ve got to treat them right in training and, maybe, have a pool day to try to take the load off their legs a bit.

‘But the gaffer has handled it very well, and in the past nine games we’ve been doing fantastically with six wins, two draws and one defeat.’

Although Cotterill has been delighted with his players in recent weeks, Lawrence revealed his manager had not been quite so pleased in the immediate aftermath of the Middlesbrough draw.

Lawrence said: ‘First half, we had some good chances.

‘We had two in the first half and should, maybe, have put them away but the second half was a bit of a struggle. We didn’t get hold of things and didn’t play like we can.

‘In the end we were very disappointed we drew the game and the manager wasn’t happy.

‘He wasn’t happy with a few things. I won’t go into it but you can tell when the gaffer’s happy and when he’s not. He was a bit cheesed off.’

Lawrence has fond memories of playing against the Foxes this season.

The summer arrival from Stoke netted his first goal for Pompey against Leicester in the 2-1 Carling Cup defeat at Fratton Park.

Then, three days later, the Republic of Ireland international bagged another two to get the Blues’ league season up and running as they thumped the Foxes 6-1.

Leicester have gone through huge changes under boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.

But despite tomorrow’s tough task, Lawrence insists Pompey will be aiming for another victory.

He added: ‘It’s a big game away at Leicester and we are going there to win. We are not going there to do anything else.’