Defender: Pompey ready for Bradford pitch battle

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MATT CLARKE believes Pompey are ready to win ugly.

The defender feels his team can adapt their game if necessary as they head to Bradford.

Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

The Bantams have been playing on a heavy Valley Parade pitch recently as a promising season for them has ran out of steam.

Pompey are next to face those testing conditions as they travel to Yorkshire to face Simon Grayson’s side.

Clarke is confident his team can handle playing on a poor surface, however, and can change their approach accordingly, if necessary.

The 21-year-old pointed to how the Blues took on the heavy snow at Oldham last month and picked up a clean sheet and victory.

Clarke has no doubt Kenny Jackett’s men are capable of doing the same again.

The defender said: ‘I watched their game with Shrewsbury last week and the pitch looked like a mudbath.

‘So the game could end up being a battle – and that’s something we’ll have to embrace. It’s something we’ll look forward to.

‘In many respects, Oldham was that type of game with the weather we had up there.

‘It was a situation where we had to dig in.

‘In this league there can be quite a lot of difference between the games.

‘Some of them are scrappy where you have to dig in.

‘And there are some of them where you see some nice football being played.

‘There are those games where you have to win your headers.

‘Set-pieces also become more important in those type of games. They can define them.

‘Whatever type of game it ends up being, we have to embrace it.’

After being ensconced in the play-off places, Bradford’s season has tailed off dramatically.

Grayson’s side have picked up just one win from the past 15 outings and go into the game sat 13th in the League One table.

Clarke is looking for his team to underline their top-six credentials.

He said: ‘We definitely believe we can get a return.

‘We’re not going there with an underdog mentality in any respect.

‘We believe we can go there and impose ourselves on them.

‘You don’t want to jinx anything, but they are not in the best of form and aren’t free-flowing at the moment.

‘They’ll be looking to rectify their form, but we’re going there aiming to show that we deserve to be in the play-offs.’