Clarke: Robinson appointment won’t alter Pompey game plan

The late Ray Wilkins. Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Images

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Matt Clarke insists the appointment of Karl Robinson hasn’t changed Pompey’s game plan ahead of their clash against Oxford United tomorrow (4pm).

The 37-year-old was announced as the new boss at the Kassam Stadium on Thursday, after resigning from Charlton Athletic earlier that day.

Pompey defender Matt Clarke

Pompey defender Matt Clarke

It ended the U’s’ two-month search for a manager, following the sacking of Pep Clotet in January.

Derek Fazackerley had been holding the Oxford reins while the club looked for the right candidate.

Robinson was deemed the correct man for the job and will take charge of his first Oxford match in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Fratton Park.

However, Clarke revealed the late managerial switch will not alter how the Blues prepare for the League One fixture.

Karl Robinson. Picture: Sharon Lucey

Karl Robinson. Picture: Sharon Lucey

And, although they have been in a poor run of form, with only two wins in 12, the centre-back reckons the U’s have the quality to beat any side in the division on their day.

Clarke said: ‘We have got to concentrate on what we do best first and foremost.

‘What Oxford do on the day, you cannot do too much work on.

‘That’s because you don’t know – it’s an unknown to us.

‘We will just go about it as professionally as we can be.

‘We will have our game plan and hopefully that will be enough to win the game on the day.

‘We’re not underestimating Oxford by any sort of stretch.

‘We know they’re on a bad run but they are not a bad side

‘On their day they have shown they’re capable of beating anyone in the league.

‘We have got to go into it thinking that we’re in for a really tough game and it’s one that we must come out on top of.’

Pompey were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Oxford in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Clarke was absent that day through a groin problem he picked up in pre-season.

However, the 21-year-old admitted the Blues were not good enough at the Kassam Stadium – but believes the loss can be used as extra motivation if any is needed.

‘I wasn’t playing in the game at their place but I remember analysing it afterwards,’ added Clarke.

‘It didn’t look like we had a good day up there.

‘It’s something that – as much as you try for it not to be – will be in the back of the lads’ minds that played there that Oxford are a good side.

‘We have got to be on our toes and hopefully if anyone needed any more motivation we’re coming up against a quality side.’