Portsmouth home-grown midfielder ready to take on new boy for starting time

Ben Close is ready to vie with Bryn Morris for starting minutes.

Thursday, 24th January 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:54 pm
Pompey's Ben Close in action. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Pompey midfielder is out to stake his claim for regular action after making his return to the first-team fray.

Close got 87 minutes under his belt in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Peterborough.

Now he’s pushing for more action in the FA Cup against QPR on Saturday, as Fratton Park hosts the fourth-round clash.

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Pompey's Ben Close in action. Picture: Joe Pepler

Morris is looking to do likewise, after arriving as midfield competition following Ben Thompson’s loan return to Millwall.

Dion Donohue is another option to be used centrally alongside Tom Naylor, with Andy Cannon cup tied and carrying a thigh problem. Pompey can also call on Adam May.

Close knows there’s so much to be decided this season and, after recovering from an ankle issue, is determined to play his part.

He said: ‘We know as players there’s a big push now.

‘We are all here ready to be called upon.

‘The manager could fling any one of us in at any time.

‘We have to be ready and now there’s the cup against QPR.

‘We want a result there to go in the Luton game with confidence.

‘Bryn’s a good player.

‘I’ve played against him this season and I played against him last season.

‘It’s another good bit of competition.

‘Obviously, Ben was fantastic here.

‘He started at Millwall the other day and did well. I think he’ll do great there over the rest of the season.

‘He deserves that, but there’s now new competition in the side and, as midfielders, we have to try to be better than the others to get in the team.

‘At the same time we are on the same team so we have to work hard to do well together.’

The QPR clash extends the break from League One action for Pompey, after reaching the semi-finals of the Checkatrade Trophy against Peterborough.

Close views the occasion as an opportunity to continue building momentum after the midweek win put two league defeats on the bounce to bed.

He added: ‘We go into QPR now off the back of a win.

‘It’s not the league and three points but it’s still a win and a bit of confidence for the boys on Tuesday. Now we have to build on that.’