Holmes is ready for the fight

Ricky Holmes came on as a second-half substitute against Bury Picture: Joe Pepler
Ricky Holmes came on as a second-half substitute against Bury Picture: Joe Pepler

While others declined the dubious honour, Ricky Holmes stuck his hand up when it mattered at Gigg Lane.

The job on offer was to speak to the gathered media after the Bury defeat.

Given a free choice, he’d probably have happily given it a miss.

But it says much for him that he didn’t refuse his duties.

Some critics will always believe players shouldn’t do interviews after a defeat of that nature and instead do their talking on the pitch.

Others argue that someone should front up and face the music and they deserve a few answers.

So go out there and make excuses or simply hide away from those tough questions on where it went wrong?

When you lose, you just can’t win.

But Holmes is an honest bloke who gives his all and believes it’s time a few more hands shot up when it comes to delivering on the pitch.

He said: ‘We are a close-knit group. We’ve got some quality players and some good characters in this squad, but they are just words aren’t they? It’s time to deliver.

‘I know we will scrap away until we get this right.

‘We’re only a few points off the play-offs, so if we can put a couple of wins together, we will be back in it.

‘But we need to produce that. It’s no good me just saying it.

‘It’s down to us to start performing and I think there has to be more bite and fight about us.’

The former Barnet man earned the Pompey player-of-the-year award for a similar sort of attitude last season.

And while he expects the team to come in for some stick after a limp 3-0 loss on the road, he is keen to maintain a sense of perspective at the same time.

‘I think it’s easy to get carried away.,’ said Holmes.

‘It’s raw after a game and, obviously, a few of our fans will be feeling negative – it’s hard to be positive after a result like that.

‘I totally understand that.

‘We didn’t turn up against a good side and that’s not fair on anyone.

‘It’s not fair on ourselves, it’s not fair on our families but, more importantly, it’s not fair on the fans who paid good money out of their own pockets to come and watch us.

‘If we keep performing like that, they will stop coming.

‘We can’t allow that to happen.

‘We will get criticised and rightly so. But it’s up to us to turn it around and start making those people believe again.

‘It is one loss, albeit a very disappointing one. That can happen.

‘It’s the nature of the game that some will get carried away by a win and others will think everything is doom and gloom after one loss.

‘We need to get it out of our system and go again on Tuesday against Stevenage.’

Holmes, who came on as a half-time substitute on Saturday, also believes boss Andy Awford will ensure his players move on quickly after the setback.

He added: ‘We can pick ourselves up and that is one of the gaffer’s best attributes – he is a good man manager.

‘We owe him a performance on Tuesday, we owe it to everyone who supports us but we owe it to ourselves as well.

‘It’s important to come out fighting, I just hope everyone sticks with us.’