Portsmouth midfielder Ben Close on whether Fratton can be a fortress without faithful

Ben Close believes Fratton Park will still give Pompey an edge in the play-offs.

Saturday, 20th June 2020, 7:00 am

The Blues midfielder feels his team will still have an advantage at home against Oxford United - even without the Fratton roar behind them.

Football has returned with Kenny Jackett’s men resuming the season on home turf against the U’s with a place in the Championship at stake.

There’s been plenty of debate about how much benefit playing on your own patch will have in those circumstances.

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With the Bundlesliga Europe’s first major league back in action, onlookers saw a pattern of away team’s picking up results.

It remains to be seen if that’s the rule or an anomaly in such circumstances, but Close feels there are home comforts to be had.

He told the EFL Show on talkSPORT 2, hosted by Dan Windle: ‘My thoughts are we should have home advantage.

‘We’re playing on a pitch we know and you can prepare exactly how you want for the game.

Ben Close

‘But on the other side of it we’re be going to Oxford confident of getting the result.

‘For every team, the home advantage may slip at little but we’ll just have to see how we do in our two games with Oxford.’

Close explained Pompey have been using Fratton Park for their preparations ahead of the game.

The players held an in-house game there on Friday as they aim to replicate the kind of experience they will have when competitive action returns.

Close feels that a logical thing to do ahead of what is going to be a very different matchday experience.

He added: ‘We’ve used the training ground and we’ve trained at Fratton Park.

‘That’s been important to try to recreate that game atmosphere.

‘Obviously for the home leg we need to try to recreate the atmosphere and feelings.

‘I think a bit of training on the training field and then get yourselves on Fratton Park for a bit as well has been the best way to prepare for it.’