Mike Birch, 54, from Tonbridge takes over the gaffer for a day hotseat and delivers his verdict on Pompey’s 2-2 draw at Wycombe.
What are your thoughts on that, Mike?
The game started quite scrappy with difficult conditions, a swirling wind and a slick pitch upon which the ball gathered place, while Wycombe were well-organised and showed they are a decent side.
And I think a draw was a fair result.
Brian Murphy’s mistake gave them the first goal and a lift and then they got a quick second, but even at 2-0 I believed we were capable of doing something.
With strong characters like Michael Doyle in the team we are never going to be rolled over at this level – and the timing of our first on the stroke of half-time was crucial.
In the second half both teams played better, having a go, and a draw was the right outcome.
What did you make of Murphy’s role in the first goal?
His decision making was at fault in the FA Cup game and it again happened on Saturday.
When he raced out of his area shouldn’t he be kicking the ball out of the ground rather than into the centre of the pitch? He knows that.
Then again he made a really good saved when it was 2-0 and showed he is a decent shot stopper. It is difficult to judge him as a keeper because we have dominated most games and he has had little to do.
Certainly, he hasn’t had a string of saves to make to redeem himself.
Still, he is the only fit senior keeper we have at the moment.
I like Paul Jones and thought he merited the role of first choice this year before his injury.
Who stood out for you?
Caolan Lavery is a player I’d like to stay in January and on Saturday again impressed me.
He is linking up well with Marc McNulty – let’s renew his loan as well – and both are scoring goals.
I like how he closes down the opposition, harrying them and putting in a lot of selfless work, and then when we have possession makes himself available. Kyle Bennett also played well and when Gareth Evans came on he added balance to the team when he slotted in on the right.
We also had decent claims for a penalty in the second half when it looked like Christian Burgess was wrestled to the ground, I thought it was a fair shout.
Are you satisfied with the team’s progress so far?
Every point is important and we have now lost only twice in 20 league matches.
Our rivals will go on good runs, they will go on bad runs, but I back our squad against anyone.
I am still very confident we will finish one of the top three sides, nothing I’ve seen this season will dissuade me of that.
Brian Murphy 6
Ben Davies 7
Christian Burgess 7
Adam Webster 7
Enda Stevens 7
Michael Doyle 7
Danny Hollands 7
Adam McGurk 7
Marc McNulty 7
Kyle Bennett 7
Caolan Lavery 8