Skipper delivers Pompey warning

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
  • Pompey travel to Crawley seeking a fourth consecutive victory
  • Start to the season best since 1988-89 under Alan Ball
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MICHAEL DOYLE has warned Pompey’s eye-catching start to the campaign will make their promotion task more difficult.

Paul Cook’s side head to Crawley tonight (7.45pm) bidding to make it four successive victories.

If we keep going the way we are then matches are going to get harder to win, especially when we get to Fratton Park

Michael Doyle

In a season carrying so much expectancy, hopes of League Two promotion continue to escalate.

Pompey’s skipper, though, is wary of how other clubs will now approach Cook’s in-form side in an attempt to nullify them.

Certainly, the Blues will be seeking a positive result at the Broadfield Stadium against Mark Yates’ team.

But Doyle believes they will start to come up against fresh measures designed to blunt their effectiveness.

He said: ‘When I came here with the players we have, I expected us to be challenging for the league and nothing is going to change that, especially working with the lads.

‘The only people that will stop us winning the league are ourselves. I really, genuinely, believe that.

‘We have had a couple of good performances. Plymouth are going to be at the top end of the table and I felt Saturday was all us, I didn’t feel under any great pressure.

‘But there are going to be games that are totally different, maybe tonight at Crawley.

‘What you find is probably – because of the results we have had – teams will set up to be a bit harder to beat by playing an extra man in midfield in front of the back four.

‘They will attempt not to try to lose the game.

‘For instance, in the first game Dagenham set up with two up front and changed it at half-time, while Plymouth played a similar formation to us.

‘I don’t know what Crawley are going to do, they might play an extra man in front of the back four and try to play on the counter-attack.

‘These are all the things you have got to be ready for.

‘If we keep going the way we are then matches are going to get harder to win, especially when we get to Fratton Park.’

Crawley, who are skippered by ex-Pompey defender Sonny Bradley, have yet to win this season.

A draw at Oxford United on the opening day was followed by a 2-0 defeat at Peterborough in the Capital One Cup.

Meanwhile, on Saturday they lost 2-1 at home to AFC Wimbledon.

In contrast, Doyle believes the Fratton faithful should rein in their expectations.

He added: ‘We are only two weeks in and I think people probably need to take a step back.

‘We don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. As good as things have gone, there has to be a bit of realism.

‘We know what we want to do and are on course to go and do that, but people might be getting a bit too far ahead of themselves thinking we are going to win the league at a canter.

‘Even if you win the league there are going to be low points.’