Gaffer: A comfortable Portsmouth win at Rochdale - but Rotherham is the real test

Gaffer for a day Andrew Fleet, 32, from Hilsea, gives his thoughts on Pompey’s 3-0 win at Rochdale on Saturday...

Sunday, 24th November 2019, 5:15 pm

What did you make of the Blues' performance?

I thought it was convincing and comfortable really. There was a bit of time when Rochdale had a foothold in the game, but they make it quite easy for us every time we go there.

They just let us play and were quite open like that at Fratton Park and Spotland last season as well.

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The teams that beat us tend to put 11 men behind the ball and hit us with a sucker punch.

I don’t think Rochdale are really set up to do that and they didn’t create any real decent chances, to be fair.

Who was your man of the match?

Ronan Curtis has really hit form after his break out of the team. It shows if we had the depth then Ben Close could also do with a little break to get back to his back form.

John Marquis turns Rochdale's Callum Camps of Rochdale in the build up to Pompey's opening goal at Spotland. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

It’s clearly what Curtis needed and that finger injury last season would have affected him psychologically because it was a tough one to come back from.

His effort has always been there and he is absolutely class. On Saturday, he was head and shoulders above everyone else apart from John Marquis.

Marquis is doing well in the number-10 role because he plays well against the bad teams – but he's still not a number 10.

His work for the opening goal was brilliant but he could probably do that in a striker role.

You’ve got to stick with it, though, as we have scored seven in the past two games. It’s working to some degree in terms of goal return, although at times it doesn't look particularly fluid.

What did you make of Oli Hawkins’ performance on his return from injury?

He hasn’t played a lot lately but has looked good at centre-half every time he has played there this season.

They’ve clearly done a lot of work with him and I think he’s done well this campaign.

I was surprised when I saw the team because you looked at it and thought there were a lot of players out of position again.

But I don’t think you can argue with it. Hawkins looked tentative in the opening 10 minutes but after that, he was absolutely fine.

You said pre-match you can't see Kenny Jackett turning this around. Do you still have that opinion?

The performance didn’t overly make me think “He’s found the formula, here we go.”

Tuesday night is massive because Rotherham are going to be a top-10 team and last season we didn’t collect many points off the top six.

They are the real tests. Jackett will always get results and a decent amount of points against those sort of teams, but we should be challenging for automatic promotion.

I can't see that happen but it could be a funny season when we end up going up through the play-offs and everyone forgets about the early discontent.

There were times when we won the League Two title and I thought we wouldn't even make the play-offs after the Crewe loss. Strange things can happen.

Andrew’s Pompey ratings

Craig MacGillivray – 7

Brandon Haunstrup – 7

Christian Burgess – 7

Oli Hawkins – 8

Lee Brown – 6

Anton Walkes - 7

Ben Close – 7

Ryan Williams – 8

John Marquis – 9

Ronan Curtis – 9

Ellis Harrison – 7