Pompey out to close the gap at Home Park
Friday, 14th Oct 2016 22:36 by pompey-fans.com staff
Pompey could be just five points behind League Two leaders Plymouth by the time they leave Home Park - or they could be 11.
They go into first clash of 2016-17 between the sides who had four fierce battles last season well adrift of Derek Adams' team and really need to avoid defeat.
But they are on a high after a deserved win at Leyton Orient last weekend and, as much as anyone in the camp might play it down, there is bound to be a feeling among the Blues that they'd like revange for the agonising play-off defeat they suffered at Home Park in May that ended their promotion dream.
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle reckons it is all set up for an absorbing clash.
He told The News: 'It was feisty at times, there is no shying away from it, and you could see when they beat us at our place in the league what it meant to them. The one thing that had an effect over the course of those games was they were quite physical.
‘The tackle on Hollands should have been a red card and he was injured after that, Gaz Evans as well. It knocked us a little bit in the play-offs, we were losing these players at a crucial time and our squad was depleted.
‘We were down to the bare bones and that is football, that’s the way it goes, that’s what you have a squad for. They are a hard team to break down and when we went there early last season we played really well, had a comfortable game – although the 2-1 score in our favour didn’t really reflect that.
‘After that sort of game they were not going to let that happen again and kind of set off negatively and tried to counter-attack when we next met at Fratton Park.
'I thought in the league games we were the dominant team and there was a bit of a smash and grab at our place after they won 2-1. That probably affected us a little bit going into the play-offs.
‘The game should have been dead and buried and summed up our season with our home form. We should have been out of sight and that’s what happens if you don’t kill off games, especially against teams with quality who can hurt you in a blink.
‘I think we were still alive after that, but it didn’t feel like it after the game. It felt it was lost on us – and probably had an effect on the bigger picture when we played them in the semi-final.’
Few changes are expected to the Pompey side who won at the Matchroom Stadium. All the XI who started at Orient are fit. Plymouth are without Ryan Brunt, Paul-Arnold Garita, Gary Sawyer and Oscar Threlkeld.
Photo: Action Images
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