'They will happen': Will Norris admits Portsmouth are playing with fire - but insists benefits outweigh the risks as promotion is eyed

Pompey keeper Will Norris has admitted mistakes will happen from the Blues’ play-out-from-the-back approach.
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But the Fratton Park No1 believes the benefits far outweigh the risks as he encouraged would-be critics of the stratgey to look at the bigger picture.

Norris’ ability to operate that way, with the 30-year-old comfortable with the ball at his feet, was a key factor in Pompey’s willingness to hand him a three-year deal upon the expiry of his Burnley contract this summer.

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Of course, the former Peterborough and Cambridge man is no slouch with his hands either – as demonstrated by his superb last-gasp save to deny Pierce Sweeney’s header for Exeter on Tuesday night.

That reactionary stop ensured Norris kept a second consecutive clean sheet for the Blues.

He’ll be keen to make it three in a row when Cheltenham travel to Fratton Park today. But with the team instructed to build from the back before unleashing their attacking threat on opponents, the keeper knows the team is playing with fire.

Norris is happy to go along with that, though, as Pompey look to beat the press. In fact, he’s a major advocate of the game plan, despite the potential for pitfalls along the way.

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‘You’re not necessarily going to be able to quantify how much you are going to gain from it but you’re going to control games that you won’t necessarily control if you’re just kicking it up the pitch,’ Norris told The News.

Will Norris signed a three-year deal with Pompey this summerWill Norris signed a three-year deal with Pompey this summer
Will Norris signed a three-year deal with Pompey this summer

‘If you kick it (the ball) up the pitch then you’re giving teams a lot more momentum to come back the other way, whereas if you control those small moments and you do beat the press and you are playing out then you’re going to control more games.

‘Yeah, you might conceded one or two that will look terrible, but then you might control 10 games of football previous to it.

‘It is one of them. People don’t see the fruits of it but it’s something we believe in and it’s something everyone has bought into it here.

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‘No mistakes have happened yet, but they will happen and, you know, we need to not go under when they do happen.’

The keeper added: ‘There will be someone out there who can quantify the benefits of it).

‘But the best teams are playing that way for a reason and I feel like, if we can emulate it in our own way whilst not negating the threat we have up top, and we get the right mix, and manage games correctly, then I feel we can have a lot of success.’