Richardson refusing to sit back and admire Pompey run

Pompey assistant boss Leam Richardson with manager Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey assistant boss Leam Richardson with manager Paul Cook. Picture: Joe Pepler
Bradley Lethbridge. Picture: Colin Farmery

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The business end of the season has produced five Pompey wins from their past six matches.

And Leam Richardson is targeting a similar return from their remaining fixtures to ensure promotion is a certainty.

The Blues collected a 2-0 triumph at Hartlepool on Saturday with goals from Kal Naismith and substitute Gary Roberts either side of half-time.

It preserved their six-goal cushion in third spot with six League Two fixtures left.

Promotion is edging tantalisingly closer, but Pompey’s assistant boss is determined his side don’t ease up as the finishing line looms.

Richardson said: ‘Promotion is getting closer, but there are still a lot of points to play for.

‘We won’t get carried away by any stretch of the imagination – we need to keep our form going, our work ethic going and our hunger.

‘That’s five wins out of six now and, fingers crossed, we can do that again.

‘If so, then we’ll come very close to having a good finish to the season.

‘We have to play 46 games to get to where we want to be and will be judged off the back of that.

‘On Saturday, going forward we looked a threat and had to be defensively sound.

‘Hartlepool had a lot of threats on the pitch.

‘I thought we defended really well.

‘Hartlepool have a lot of pace in the team, good quality players going forward and were a threat all afternoon.

‘I’ve worked with Padraig Amond before and he was a constant threat.

‘The two wide lads, Lewis Alessandra and Nathan Thomas, have got great ability and pace so you must be defensively sound, but we felt we could catch them on the counter attack.

‘Individually and collectively, there were some very strong performances.

‘Whether it is work ethic, defending, goals scored or assists, I thought we had a good balance.’

The win was marred by a dislocated shoulder for the recalled Noel Hunt on the stroke of half-time.

His replacement was Roberts, with the ever-versatile Naismith pushed into the lone striker role.

Richardson added: ‘With Noel coming off and our structure changing slightly, we wanted to get to half-time and put in messages to the group.

‘Hartlepool started the second half very positively.

‘They were prominent, but at half-time we spoke about catching them on the counter attack because they would be pushing men forward. ‘Thankfully, it paid off.’

– NEIL ALLEN