Pompey manager’s attack concerns

TOUGH DAY Michael Drennan returned to the starting line-up for the visit of Cheltenham but the move to 4-4-2 did not boost Pompey's cutting edge
TOUGH DAY Michael Drennan returned to the starting line-up for the visit of Cheltenham but the move to 4-4-2 did not boost Pompey's cutting edge

Richie Barker accepts his Pompey side are not showing enough attacking quality following their latest drab Fratton Park display.

After the Blues stumbled to a disappointing 0-0 draw with Cheltenham, the Pompey boss hinted his focus on improving the team’s defensive approach may need a rethink as his side now struggle to score goals and create opportunities.

Barker will point to eight clean sheets in his 16 games in charge as a marked improvement on a defence that was leaking too many goals.

But Pompey have also failed to score themselves in seven of those matches.

And their latest blank meant they have netted just four times in eight games on home turf since Barker’s arrival in December.

While Monday night’s 0-0 draw at Chesterfield was a promising display, this latest stalemate was far from it.

Barker said: ‘We got the same number of points for the same result but it was a very different feel to it.

‘We are slowly turning it around but we are well aware that goals win you football matches.

‘We’ve made ourselves more difficult to beat and more difficult to score against but we’ve got to start scoring goals.

‘When I came in, we had two issues – the strikers weren’t scoring enough goals and we were conceding too many.

‘We’ve managed to put one right and to a certain extent we’ve put the other one right.

‘What we could do with is one or two others in the team taking a bit of pressure off and weighing in with some goals themselves.

‘There is always an element of expectation when we play at Fratton Park but we will keep working at it.

‘I’m frustrated and it’s disappointing but we are a point better off.’

Barker opted for a five-man midfield which worked well at Chesterfield but on Saturday he reverted to a 4-4-2 formation with Michael Drennan partnering Jake Jervis up front.

He said: ‘I wanted to be positive. I wanted to take the game to them and I felt playing with two strikers down the middle could put pressure on their defenders.

‘I picked the team to do that but I don’t think we worked their goalkeeper enough. It was our lack of quality in the final third that let us down.

‘It’s down to composure, decision-making and at times, we need to improve technique.’

But Barker still felt his side had created enough to have won the game, with a late scramble perhaps the closest they came to breaking the deadlock after Cheltenham’s Ashley Vincent rattled a post in the first half.

The Blues boss said: ‘In the second half, I thought we should have won the game.

‘If that late scramble goes in, we win the game and everybody goes home happy.

‘But we move on quickly and it’s not the end of the world.

‘We are a point closer to where we want to be.’