Close warns against Portsmouth complacency

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Ben Close is well aware of the dangers Pompey will face as they look to avoid an FA Cup upset at National League outfit Maidenhead United on Saturday.

The League One table-toppers head to the Magpies as firm favourites to progress to the second round.

Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

But 22-year-old Blues midfielder Close knows only too well that the quality of opposition beneath the Football League is not to be underestimated.

Having come through the ranks at the club, the former Priory School pupil had loan stints with Poole Town and Eastleigh to aid his development.

Being in and around the Spitfires for the second half of the 2016-17 National League season, the midfielder has a particularly good understanding of the kind of test Pompey will face at York Road.

Close said: ‘I played at Poole Town for a little bit first, which is obviously a little bit lower, then Eastleigh a couple of years ago in the National League.

'I've seen the players and there are some good teams in that league. 

'We're not expecting an easy game Saturday and we won't be complacent.

‘We've got a handful of players who have played that standard.

'We know if you're not fully prepared, not going in to the game like a normal game, you can get turned over.’

As well as Close, Oli Hawkins, Jamal Lowe, Jack Whatmough and Louis Dennis are other members of the current Blues dressing room who have enjoyed stints outside the Football League.

That experience will stand Pompey in good stead.

And the midfielder is adamant the Blues will have done their homework on what is required for the televised clash against Maidenhead.

‘You prepare for the game the same way,’ added Close.

Make sure you start on the front foot, if you can settle early and stamp your authority on the game that is a good way to go about it.

'The manager hasn't really spoke about it (complacency). He knows what can happen and as players we do, too.

'We all know what is required, we've seen upsets last year and every year in the FA Cup.

'We know what is required an we've got to make sure we do it.’