Thompson: No need for Pompey panic

Nathan Thompson is convinced Pompey can rebuild their impregnable defensive wall following a Shrewsbury slip.

Monday, 25th December 2017, 7:00 pm
Nathan Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues today host AFC Wimbledon seeking to bounce back from a disappointing outcome at the New Meadow on Saturday.

Kenny Jackett’s men headed into the encounter buoyed by the confidence of four successive clean sheets and five shut-outs in six fixtures.

However, second-half errors from Luke McGee and Matt Clarke gifted the Shrews a 2-0 victory to strengthen their own promotion push.

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Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey now have a chance to respond against the struggling Wimbledon in this afternoon’s Fratton Park encounter.

And Thompson is certain that, defensively, Shrewsbury represented a one-off.

The right-back said: ‘If you are honest with yourself, although those goals were unfortunate and we lost the game, it was not a fundamental issue defensively.

‘If you are making the odd individual error, there are not underlying problems.

Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘Previously we had four clean sheets and that is where it starts again with Wimbledon the opposition.

‘Without a doubt we can sort things out defensively again.

‘The fact we went four games on the bounce without conceding showed signs this team is really improving and we found that with our league position as well, so we are making progress.

‘There is no point scoring three or four goals if you are conceding them as well.

‘Things have tightened up at the back and made us a little more difficult to beat.

‘We have the players in the team who are going to score on a regular basis and create chances and when you’ve got the defensive mind in place it is solid, so we can again put a run together.

‘Shrewsbury was a little step backwards but we can build on that.’

It had been longer than a month since Pompey last conceded – in a 2-1 defeat at Peterborough.

Thompson was an unused substitute that night – before forcing his way back into the team.

Clarke and McGee have been crucial components of the recent excellent run, the latter also saving a penalty from Simon Whalley in that Shrewsbury defeat.

Today the eighth-placed Blues host a Wimbledon side languishing in the League One relegation zone.

Thompson believes there will be no hangover from Clarke and McGee following their costly New Meadow errors.

He added: ‘The two mistakes were crucial.

‘But Luke saved a penalty five minutes earlier and both boys have been top drawer.

‘They must learn from that, they are young lads and if you are going to mix it around the top you have to dust yourself off and go again very quickly.

‘And I am certain they will because they are good players.’