Pompey debutant pleased with defensive effort

Debutant Paul Robinson began life in the Blues defence with a clean sheet against Peterborough
Debutant Paul Robinson began life in the Blues defence with a clean sheet against Peterborough
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Paul Robinson surveyed Pompey’s new-look defensive system and insisted: It gives us a new option.

The defender, who has joined on a month’s loan from Millwall, turned in an impressive display on his debut in a revamped three-man defence alongside Ben Chorley and Joe Devera.

Alex Wynter and Dan Butler operated as wing-backs, while Nigel Atangana was given his first start alongside James Dunne and Danny Hollands in midfield.

Jack Whatmough, who was outstanding in the 1-1 draw at Exeter at the weekend, was given a breather, while Nicky Shorey was also given the night off.

But the new formation gave the Blues a solid look, with 32-year-old Robinson revealing he is comfortable playing in any system boss Andy Awford chooses.

Robinson said: ‘I’ve spent most of my career playing in a back four but it’s always enjoyable to test yourself out in a different formation.

‘I’m just happy to be out there playing and I don’t really mind what system we use.

‘We will need to use more than one system as the season goes on and for playing against different teams in different situations.

‘Other teams can get wise to how you play. They can work out strengths and weaknesses.

‘So to give the manager the option of switching it up to go with a back three will keep a few teams guessing.

‘It’s good to have that flexibility.’

Pompey had worked on the system in training and it also allowed Wynter, in particular, to show his attacking ability.

Butler, meanwhile, was occupied by the dangerous Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and saw his opportunities to get forward more limited – nevertheless turned in a sound performance on his return.

But having the extra body in central defence made it difficult for Peterborough to find a way back after Miles Storey had opened the scoring.

‘It’s very pleasing to get a clean sheet against a team from a higher division,’ said Robinson.

‘They didn’t have too many clear chances and our goalkeeper didn’t have to make too many saves.

‘Peterborough are a potent side who score a lot of goals.

‘They had a few shots from range but the boys put in a lot of hard work out there – especially the boys in front of us.

‘It was a good team performance and we were all working hard for that clean sheet.

‘Everyone put a real shift in.

‘They started to throw a few more bodies forward in the second half and the pressure builds up, but we kept them out well.’

With the defensive trio all experienced professionals, Robinson also revealed they shared the responsibilities in keeping their shape.

He added: ‘All three of us took our fair share of responsibility at the back.

‘It’s good and it makes the job so much easier when you have people talking to each other out there.

‘Playing alongside the experience of Ben and Joe made it comfortable for me.

‘I think it worked it quite well.

‘Hopefully, that result will set us up well to build from here.

‘It’s been a long time since my last debut.

‘But the boys made it really easy for me. They are a fantastic group of lads and I’ve settled in really well.’