Gaffer: Portsmouth must be ruthless, so Hawkins has to be replaced

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Gaffer for a Day Matt Reeder, aged 44 from Harrogate, looks ahead to Pompey’s trip to struggling Bradford...

Bradford are awful and have lost six in a row, yet it’s still one to worry about.

Football Manager 2019 has predicted Pompey will win the League One title. Picture: Joe Pepler

Football Manager 2019 has predicted Pompey will win the League One title. Picture: Joe Pepler

This is one of those banana skins which Pompey fans look at and think “Oh no, here we go”. We’re all concerned about what could be coming against a team unbeaten away from home this season. It’s Pompey!

I was at Accrington last week and while we didn’t take our chances in the first half, we came away with a point which was a bit of a positive. In the past we would probably have lost that game.

Even when not playing well, we still look a solid side, especially with someone like Matt Clarke at centre-back, that guy is astonishing, what a player.

During that opening 45 minutes against Stanley, the forward four were outstanding, yet we must learn to capitalise against teams and take our chances. I certainly hope that will be the case at Valley Parade.

I would recall Brett Pitman to replace Oli Hawkins, despite the big striker’s three goals in successive matches. My dad and I had this debate earlier in the week – he likes Hawkins and I like Pitman!

Hawkins has a role in the team, but I just think Pitman can do that same role just as well and would like to see him off the leash. We didn’t take our chances last weekend and it needs to change.

I know Hawkins has three in three, but how many does he miss? We need someone to put the ball in the back of the net and make those opportunities count. Pitman is a proven goalscorer.

I really like Ben Close in our midfield, he gives us a real tenacity, and also like Ben Thompson in there.

With Tom Naylor returning, I’m afraid Close must make way. It’s hard on him, but he’s got a really bright future and is a star player. We’re going to see plenty more of him over the coming years.

The other change is self-explanatory, with Anton Walkes coming in at right-back for the suspended Nathan Thompson, a decision which is obvious considering the circumstances.

Pompey (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray, Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown, Naylor, Ben Thompson, Lowe, Evans, Curtis, Pitman.