Ben Davies back to Pompey best on Rovers return
Ben Davies' disappointment at seeing his ever-present league run end earlier this month was offset by Pompey's return to winning ways against Bristol Rovers.
That’s the admission from the popular defender, who started all 27 of the Blues’ League Two encounters prior to the recent 1-0 defeat to the O’s – arguably the worst performance of Paul Cook’s managerial reign.
But while Davies may not have agreed with Cook’s decision to withdraw him from the action and hand loanee Kieron Freeman his debut, the full-back was happy to be back in the thick of things at Fratton Park on Saturday as the hosts climbed back into the play-off places.
‘It was disappointing to be left out,’ he said.
‘You want to play in every game but Paul is the manager of the football club and you take his decision.
‘That’s football – people get left out and you just get on with it.
‘As you get older, you realise your career is coming to an end some day, so the more you can play the better.
‘But it is one of those things. When someone else comes in in your position you will them on and get behind the team.
‘You take the rest and come back stronger and hopefully better than before.’
Coming back stronger and better was a challenge Pompey rose to on Saturday as thoughts of their disappointing Orient loss were banished in an impressive Fratton Park display.
Fellow promotion rivals Rovers were swept aside, with Davies the chief creator as he set up both Gareth Evans and Michael Smith to put the game beyond the visitors before half-time.
Substitute Marc McNulty put the gloss on the win late on before a last-gasp consolation from The Gas’ Lee Brown.
Regardless, Davies’ return to the starting line-up coincided with one of Cook’s side’s best performances all season – a fact recognised by the Football League who named the 34-year-old in their team of the week.
‘Obviously, against Leyton Orient we were disappointed with the result,’ said Davies.
‘But on Saturday it was nice to be able to put it right.
‘The lads started really well and we needed to.
‘We had to make a conscious effort to get the pace up and the place rocking.
‘From the word go the fans could see we were up for it and we have to do that now for every game.
‘We have 17 games left and we have got to be like that in every game if we want to get automatic promotion, which is what we are hoping for.’
Davies also moved to allay any concerns over his age or fitness after being handed his rest.
‘I feel fine, I feel brilliant,’ added the full-back.
‘I think sometimes my age is used against me.
‘But the likes of myself, Michael Doyle and Gary Roberts look after ourselves more than probably the younger lads do.
‘If you don’t look after yourself properly throughout the week then you feel the affects of that on a Saturday.
‘But as you get older it sort of looks after itself.’