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TEAM TALK v PORTSMOUTH, 4/1/2013

3 January 2013

Boss looking to sink Pompey...

I HAVE been pleased with our performances over the festive period. The players have displayed tremendous character and worked extremely hard to pick up nine points from our last four games.

As a group we have never lost our belief in what we are doing and we are displaying a steely determination to get to where we want to be.

We go into Friday evening’s game on the back of a hard-earned and deserved victory over Stevenage on Tuesday.

I felt that we started the game brightly, passing and moving the ball well, but the opening period became a bit too stop-start for my liking. At half-time I told the players to up the tempo and we were the better side after the break.

Stevenage are a well-organised team who are difficult to break down and whilst they made it hard for us to create chances, it took a special goal from Jamie Paterson to give us a merited three points.

It was disappointing to lose Florent Cuvelier so early on in the game with another hamstring injury, whilst Andy Taylor was also forced to limp out of the action before the break, but we overcame the set-backs to get the result that we all craved.

The last time that we appeared on live television, we put in an impressive performance at Shrewsbury but didn’t get the result that we deserved. Hopefully this occasion  will see us combine a good display with three points.

It won’t be easy because despite their off-the-field problems, Portsmouth have plenty of quality and know-how in their ranks.

We achieved a winning result down at Fratton Park earlier in the season with two great strikes from Florent Cuvelier and James Baxendale, but we won’t be taking anything for granted.

We know that we will have to be at our best and be organised and consistent in our performance levels in order to get the desired result.

It’s a case of continuing to plug away and be able to progress as a team and as a club.

Thank you for your valued support over the festive period...

DEAN SMITH

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