Gaffer: I've got hopes again of Portsmouth reaching the automatics after Oxford United win

Gaffer for a Day, Steve Farquhar, aged 32 from Clapham, assesses Pompey’s 1-0 victory over Oxford United...

Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 12:16 pm
Craig MacGillivray earned praise from Gaffer For A Day Steve Farquhar following his triple save in stoppage time. Picture: Alex Burstow/Getty Images

Now that was a response, wasn’t it.

I’m starting to hope about reaching the automatics again – whereas Saturday it seemed out of the equation!

We just about deserved to beat Oxford, although I was ridiculously nervy at the end, I was shaking. It was such a huge win, if we had conceded late on morale would have been devastated.

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The team were much more up for it than the previous two games against Bristol Rovers and Blackpool, it was refreshing to see.

Surely we can go on a run now, with consistent positive results. Hull are there for the taking, while Lincoln could drop after an unbelievable season.

Peterborough will win League One – it’s just about who will join them

Who was your man of the match?

Craig MacGillivray won us the game at the end, while I love how Andy Cannon battles away.

But I’m going for Harvey White. He scored the winning goal on his full debut and I liked his post-match interview, you could see he was absolutely buzzing, there were no scripted responses.

He won the ball back further up the pitch, showed he can put his foot on it, and there’s a lot more to come from him now. Hopefully he’s got the confidence to push on.

Although, having said that, for me nobody was head and shoulders above the rest against Oxford.

What did you make of the positional switch for Ronan Curtis?

I was delighted to see Kenny Jackett shake it up in attack, it was time to drop John Marquis.

I like Marquis with Marcus Harness alongside him, it’s someone who can slot the ball through.

However, if it’s one up front, though, then it has to be Ellis Harrison as he wins the headers and the ball sticks to him.

With Curtis, it could work in a regular striking role. He can get the ball down, win flick-ons, is tenacious and has a bit of pace.

It’s worth a try, let’s give him a run and field the same side against Gillingham on Saturday.

Now there’s something which really irritates you about Kenny Jackett.

I’m not particularly Jackett out, but for me the main problem with Kenny is his lack of rotation and substitutions.

It shouldn’t get to the stage where Marquis is so out of form and lost his sharpness that the manager has to drop him from the side.

When winning games comfortably, we should be bringing off players to rest them and introducing some from the bench who are desperate for sharpness. Get them on.

How demoralising must it be to be 4-0 up against Northampton and you remain on the bench. That’s how players lose confidence and then bitch about the manager.

It’s common sense. Ben Close and Bryn Morris both came on in the 89th minute in that game - and were our only subs. I went mental, it’s so infuriating.

Tom Naylor and Andy Cannon are unbelievably important to us. If we’re winning comfortably, get George Byers or Harvey White off the bench. Let’s rest them.

Craig MacGillivray 8

Callum Johnson 7

Sean Raggett 7

Rasmus Nicolaisen 7

Lee Brown 7

Marcus Harness 6

Tom Naylor 7

Andy Cannon 8

Harvey White 8

Ellis Harrison 7

Ronan Curtis 7

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