Hollands: Pompey play-off prospects aided by fantastic squad

Danny Hollands, right, and his team-mates battled to a good win at Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands, right, and his team-mates battled to a good win at Wimbledon. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey skipper lifts lid on injury issues

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Pompey’s strength in depth can help them achieve play-off glory.

That is the view of Blues midfielder Danny Hollands after Paul Cook’s injury-hit side guaranteed their place in the four-way fight for a spot in League One.

Conor Chaplin missed out due to injury on Tuesday and watched the game with Pompey fans instead. Picture: Joe Pepler

Conor Chaplin missed out due to injury on Tuesday and watched the game with Pompey fans instead. Picture: Joe Pepler

A gutsy 1-0 win at play-off rivals AFC Wimbledon on Tuesday night was made all the more impressive by virtue of the fact the visitors were without eight first-team players.

Goalkeeper Ryan Fulton, defenders Jack Whatmough and Matt Clarke, winger Kyle Bennett and attacking trio Conor Chaplin, Marc McNulty and Conor Wilkinson were all sidelined.

Cook highlighted the issue before the game to assure people he was not being clever with team selection.

But with quality throughout his playing ranks, Pompey were unhampered as they brought the Dons’ five-game winning run to a halt.

For Hollands it was vindication of his opinion the Blues’ fantastic squad is the envy of the division.

And the hard-working 30-year-old has now called on his talented team-mates to prove they are better than League Two level by ending the campaign on a high.

He said: ‘Injuries do not really affect us.

‘I said earlier in the season the squad depth is there for a reason.

‘You can take three or four players out and put another three or four players in and we can go and do the same job.

‘Whoever takes to the field, we are comfortable and confident they will do a good job.

‘It is important to have a good squad and we have a fantastic squad.

‘I don’t think there are many in this league who can say they have as good a squad as us.

‘For me, our players are better than League Two players.

‘But football is football and we are in League Two for a reason.

‘Hopefully we can all knuckle down and try to put that right and get up via the play-offs.

‘I have a lot of belief in the squad and the players we have.’

With two games to play – at Hartlepool on Saturday and home to Northampton the following weekend – Pompey sit in sixth spot, five points adrift of third-placed Oxford United.

While not impossible, the Blues’ automatic-promotion hopes remain highly improbable as attention instead turns to an end-of-season shootout.

But with goalkeeper Paul Jones joining the growing injury list with a thigh injury picked up in the win at the Dons, Hollands remains confident in the players at Cook’s disposal.

He added: ‘It has been a long hard season and for us it looks like it will go on for a little bit longer.

‘Every footballer will tell you when you get to this stage of the season, you have to dig in and graft for the last few weeks.

‘But like I say, we are all united and regardless of whoever takes to the field, we feel we can get the three points for Portsmouth.

‘Everyone has faith in each other and we all support and get behind each other.

‘It is important for us now to kick on and ensure we have two good performances to take us into the play-offs.’