Holmes just wants to keep entertaining

Ricky Holmes. Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes. Picture: Joe Pepler

Fratton Park’s entertainer has pledged to continue putting a smile on the faces of his Pompey audience with his own brand of footballing trickery.

Ricky Holmes created 11 goals and scored two himself from 40 league appearances during his maiden Blues campaign.

Only Southend United’s Kevan Hurst has produced more assists in League Two this season – a total of 15.

Holmes’ wing-play relies on tireless hard work, coupled with skill on the ball, rather than out-and-out blistering pace.

They are characteristics which have established him as an instant Blues favourite, earning The News/Sports Mail player-of-the-season accolade in the process.

The future of Jed Wallace may be unclear but fellow attacking midfielder Holmes is contracted for another season and eager to keep on delivering.

He said: ‘I want to get bums off seats, that’s how I play.

‘If you can hear all the seats clattering up, all the cheers, it makes you want to do it again and again and again.

‘On Saturday I was cramping up but felt I just wanted to keep doing it.

‘When you go to take a corner and all the fans stand up and applaud, that is the best feeling in football.

‘My job is to entertain, to set up goals. I would like to have scored more goals this season – it wasn’t to be – but I still got the second-most assists in the league, and with a few more goals I’ll be there.

‘I was pretty much like that at Barnet as well, that’s how I like to play.

‘But I need to get given licence to do that and allowed the freedom.

‘Previously, I felt we had the reins on and couldn’t go out there and express ourselves. Under the new gaffer we have been able to do that and it has shown in our performances.

‘When you get to express yourself, you get to show 18,000 your talent and that is why we play the game.

‘Against Plymouth, at one point their defender fell over when I ran at him.

‘I gave a little chuckle to myself after that one but that doesn’t happen with all of them.

‘You come up against an opponent every week and they are always different. Sometimes you have to change your game but, thankfully, I had the beating of the opposition on Saturday.’

In all competitions, Holmes has amassed 45 appearances this season, with only Wallace (48) making more.

A strong end to the campaign from the 26-year-old saw him beat Trevor Carson to the News/Sports Mail player-of-the-season trophy, scooping three such supporter accolades in total.

And having stepped up from Barnet, he has found himself inspired by playing in front of large Pompey crowds.

‘The Fratton End suck the ball in,’ added Holmes.

‘They make a hell of a noise and that’s what you want to play for. You strive to play in front of thousands and previously I was only playing in front of 2,000.

‘From a young kid I always wanted to play in front of a big crowd and I have started to do that this season. I love attacking the Fratton end, too.

‘In the first half you wear down the opposition.

‘Once you wear a team down then you keep going and, with my fitness and energy, I manage to have the better of them every second half when attacking the Fratton End.’