Hoolihan calls on Portsmouth to deliver

Greg Hoolihan, right, and Anthony Fookes
Greg Hoolihan, right, and Anthony Fookes
Former Pompey manager Alan Ball

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Portsmouth face another demanding test as they travel to fourth-placed Old Elthamians in London one south (3pm).

A disappointing home defeat against Trojans last week left the Hilsea-based club just one place off the bottom with a single victory from their opening six league games.

Skipper Greg Hoolihan admits his side are suffering from a lack of confidence and need to put in a good performance.

‘It isn’t easy at the moment because we have been badly hit by injury and absentees,’ said Hoolihan.

‘Four or five players are missing from the forwards and that doesn’t help.

‘Second-row Will Brock is away in New Zealand for the World Cup and he has been badly missed, both on and off the field.

‘We have missed his energy and his non-stop tackling.

‘He is the sort of player others around him look to for inspiration when times are tough.

‘Fortunately, he comes back on Tuesday and will make a difference.’

Portsmouth are forced to reshuffle their pack of forwards again due to injury.

Paul Connor comes in at second-row alongside colt Rob Gicquel and John Rushton is promoted from the second team into the back-row.

‘Old Elthamians have had some good results so we know it won’t be easy,’ said Hoolihan.

‘The players coming in for us are of a good quality and are capable of stepping up.

‘It is an opportunity for them.

‘We have been playing well in patches and need to put a good consistent 80 minutes together.

‘As players, we accept we have underperformed and as a group need to put things right.’

Portsmouth: Duffus, Bion, Barnes, Richards, Neville, Young, Rushton, Cuming, Hoolihan, Hankey, Connor, Giquel, Long, Crabb J, Fooks, Sargent, Stoneman, Carpenter