Blues need to use Fratton factor

Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler
Richie Barker. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey have been told to make the most of inspirational Fratton Park as they bid to keep their League Two momentum going.

The Blues go looking for back-to-back league wins for the first time since March 2013 as they host second-from-bottom Torquay tomorrow.

With six defeats and just five wins on home soil this term, it has been suggested Pompey’s current crop of players have struggled to cope with the weight of fans’ expectations.

But boss Richie Barker saw what the fans can add when the team give them something to shout about in the 1-1 draw with Mansfield last time out at Fratton.

And he is eager to create something similar again, starting with the visit of the Gulls.

‘Part of the reason most of the players came here is to play in front of 15,000 people, so if you can’t do it, you’ve made the wrong decision,’ said Barker.

‘For the last half an hour against Mansfield, the fans were almost blowing the ball in the net for us.

‘Mansfield looked punch-drunk. A big part of that was the fans getting behind the team and it gave the players extra enthusiasm.

‘We’ve got to create that on a regular basis. It would be good to get all of the people on our side all the time.

‘But they need to see that there is improvement and things are going in the right direction – hopefully they do.’

Pompey did not create many chances in the midweek win at Wycombe but have certainly become harder to beat.

And Barker accepts more is expected of the team on their home turf.

He said: ‘Do we have to play differently at home? I suppose we do, to a certain extent.

‘We’ve played with two strikers for a while but will we just set up the team to not get beaten at home? Probably not.’

Get Jordan Cross and Steve Wilson’s pre-match thoughts by clicking here.