POMPEY will have to silence the best player in League Two to kick-start their promotion charge.
That’s the view of Blues defender Ben Davies ahead of today’s high-flying showdown between the Blues and Oxford.
Paul Cook’s side go up against the division’s top scorer in 18-goal marksman Kemar Roofe.
Davies is under no illusions about the size of challenge Pompey face in nullifying the attacking midfielder’s threat.
He said: ‘Roofe’s a good player.
‘You see the goals he’s scored and he’s a really talented boy. He’s got a great finish on him.
‘They’ve obviously paid money for him, quite a bit, and put some investment into him.
‘The only problem they’ll have is trying to keep hold of him, but they are probably not in a position of needing to sell.
‘He’s probably the stand-out player in the division.
‘Eighteen goals isn’t bad for a midfielder so far. He has the talent and quality to score goals.
‘Fair play to him, when he’s playing well and scoring goals you take your hat off to him.
‘I’ve been fortunate enough to play at a higher level and he should be there.
‘When you play against him, his movement and the way he goes about things is probably a higher level than League Two.
‘I’m sure Oxford want him to get there with them.
‘We are going to have to close him down as quickly as he can.
‘But, when you do that, there are other players who can hurt you.’
Pompey will be looking to extend a run of a single defeat from 13 games and extend a sequence of not conceding a goal in their past six league games at Fratton Park.
To do that means delivering against a side Davies rates as the best in the division after his own.
‘It’s a good stat, (not conceding at home since November),’ said the full-back.
‘We need to tighten up away from home, we think we’ve given away too many goals.
‘Obviously, at home, it’s good but it’s in the past.
‘We have to look to Oxford. Any mistake or lapse in concentration could see them score.
‘That run will be gone just like that.
‘We’ve defended well as a team at home and looked solid.
‘But they’ll have 11 players who, at this level, are very good attacking-wise.
‘They are a good unit and the best I’ve come across at this level this season.
‘They’ve got good individual players, a manager and they are a good unit.
‘They have a budget where they can attract players like Roofe.
‘They are a good team and their gaffer has them playing well.
‘They are the nearest ones to us in quality.
‘So three points against them are needed. It will close us in on them and it’ll be game on again.’