Gaffer: Failure to beat Bristol Rovers and Barnsley can end Portsmouth’s play-off hopes

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Gaffer for a Day, Roger Fresle, aged 47 from Gosport, previews tonight’s visit of Bristol Rovers...

At the moment, we will be lucky to finish in the play-offs – unless we manage to win our next two games.

Tom Naylor is back from suspension for Pompey's clash with Bristol Rovers. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Naylor is back from suspension for Pompey's clash with Bristol Rovers. Picture: Joe Pepler

Failure to beat Bristol Rovers and Barnsley at Fratton Park can end our play-off ambitions, with Doncaster and Peterborough coming up to overtake us.

Another issue is our home form, we have given so many points away against opposition we should be putting away if we want to win promotion.

We possess the best away form in the league – but without home results to back it up that is pointless.

It’s easy to say Ben Thompson leaving is the catalyst, but it does appear that way, we haven’t recruited somebody to replace him. I didn’t think losing one player would have such an impact.

We have Adam May and Ben Close who can come into midfield, but they are not the same type of player – and aren’t of the same standard.

If we go with the 4-4-2, which I thought worked well in the first half against Southend, then I’m looking for a 3-0 win over Bristol Rovers. With one up front, though, it will be a draw.

Kenny Jackett made the mistake of switching the system when he brought on Gareth Evans for Omar Bogle at Roots Hall, it was ridiculous, encouraging the hosts to attack.

It confounded me and felt like a defeat. Fair play to Southend, though, they gave it a go and the equaliser was a different class.

For the opening 30 minutes, we had the ball on the ground with Bogle and Jamal Lowe down the right looking excellent. The ball was on the ground rather than hoofed in the air. Then it changed.

Still, we have Tom Naylor back from suspension and he is vital for protecting the back four, even if he does have a 50p-shaped head!

I’ve still to see Close make a decent tackle, but Bryn Morris can work well alongside Naylor.