Gaffer: Portsmouth must take advantage of Rochdale side with Football League’s worst defence

Gaffer for a Day, Steve Reeve, aged 56 from Horndean, looks ahead to Pompey’s match with Rochdale.

Friday, 12th April 2019, 8:00 pm
Gaffer for a Day, Steve Reeve, is hoping Brett Pitman can put on a show for grandson Charlie, who is among Saturday's mascots. Picture: Joe Pepler

This is a match we need to be improving our goal difference to bring it down to a manageable number before we play Sunderland.

Rochdale have conceded 79 goals so far, that’s more than any team in the top four divisions. We must take advantage.

I’m certainly hoping for a memorable Fratton Park afternoon as my grandson, Charlie Stewart, is among the mascots!

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Aged six, he’s a Pompey season-ticket holder who was with me at Wembley and his favourite player is Brett Pitman. He’s so excited about this game.

It would name a side unchanged from the one which won 3-2 at Wycombe last weekend.

Despite their defensive record, I do think it’s going to be hard against Rochdale. They will be fighting for their lives and last weekend were undone in the last minute by Sunderland.

We can score goals, though. There is so much ability across this team, with a better spread of goals compared to last campaign.

I have never believed you need a 20-goal-a-season player, getting them across the team makes you stronger.

I think we have enough class to beat the Dale and if we can earn an early goal it will force them to come out to us, as they need the points.

They are going to come to Fratton Park and not want to concede, that will be their primary objective, then building from there.

If we can break that resistance early, who knows what the scoreline could be.

With the player of the season vote due soon, Matt Clarke is an easy pick. However, you cannot overlook periods of the season when Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis have been at their exceptional best.

In terms of week in, week out regularity and consistency, though, you would struggle to look past Clarke.

Although I wonder what would have happened had Ben Thompson seen out the campaign with us.

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