The Pompey meeting reminiscent of Doyle’s pivotal title charge

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It was a player meeting organised by Michael Doyle that sparked Pompey’s charge to the League Two title last season.

And Dion Donohue has revealed the current Blues squad held a similar frank conversation as they target a play-off place this term.

Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen

Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen

Doyle summoned the troops for a training-ground meeting after Pompey’s abject 1-0 loss to Crewe on March 4, 2017, allowing every member of the team a chance to speak their minds.

It provided the catalyst to Paul Cook’s side winning 10 of their last 12 games and clinching the title on the final day of the campaign.

After the Blues’ recent defeat to Gillingham, assistant boss Joe Gallen followed in the footsteps of the former skipper and opened the floor for players to get things off their chests.

A 30-minute conversation on the training pitch ensued – and it appears to have had a positive affect.

Former Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

Former Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett’s men delivered back-to-back victories over Oldham and Oxford respectively, leaving them two points outside the top six.

Donohue believes the meeting was much-needed and has brought the squad closer together.

The Welshman said: ‘Joe pulled us all over after training and said he wanted all of us to give him the feedback rather than vice versa.

‘We stayed out for about half-an-hour – it was freezing – but we all had our say on what we thought was going wrong.

‘The defenders were blaming midfielders and midfielders blaming defenders, then your strikers aren’t scoring.

‘But as a team you need that. You all listen to each other and you all pull together.

‘At Oldham we produced a good team performance and showed togetherness, especially in the conditions, to go there and get the win.

‘I didn’t know Michael Doyle pulled everyone in last season, obviously I wasn’t here when he was.

‘It was needed because we weren’t picking up the results. Things were going wrong, so for Joe to pull us all together and to voice all our opinions was good.

‘It’s good to have a bust-up every now and then.

‘It gets everyone together and in the past couple of weeks we’ve shown that we’re back in contention for the play-offs.

‘You could see the togetherness at Oldham and everyone had taken what people had said on board.’

With the Blues having a young squad, Donohue reckons it gave the older heads the chance to give the less-experienced pros guidance.

‘I didn’t expect it to go on for that long – I thought it would be a quick 10 minutes!’ the former Chesterfield talent added.

‘But fair play to Joe for realising it and doing it. Sometimes it’s what you need.

‘To an extent, you need a couple of bust-ups to rally everyone – especially for the more experienced players.

‘They have got that authority over the younger lads to tell us where we’re going wrong and for the younger lads to learn is good.

‘The squad that we’ve got is very young, so for them to be able to grow into themselves with the more experienced lads in the team is good.’