Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Friday October 30 2009
Portsmouth Vs Wigan Athletic, the build-up
Vital Latics and Vital Pompey met up for a cyber chat ahead of the weekends clash between the two sides at Fratton Park, worbo from the Latics and Pompey`s Pompey Rug ; lets see how it went:
worbo - Hi Rug I see Pompey`s not had the best of starts this season do you feel you will pull out of it and is Wigan lad Paul Hart the man for the job?
Pompey Rug - I will retain my belief that we can do this until it is no longer possible. The thing that worries me is the constant off the field issues, and eventually the lack of results coming - if things carry on as they are - will see the heads go down, when this starts you are doomed!
In all honesty Hart would not have been my appointment when he came in but time has made it perfectly clear that he was the only one that WOULD take the job on, and for that I have nothing but respect for the guy. Tactically he still lets himself down at times, so you can blame him for that, individual errors that we saw quite frequently in the season were not his fault. As far as I am concerned Hart has the team playing for him so he needs to carry on, but results need to turn round soon.
'If', and this is a big if, we stay up this season then Hart would be the manager of the season, surely?
worbo - Here at the Latics we have a new boss as if you didn`t know, Roberto Martinez, and he has brought in some new players, two in particular, Hendry Thomas and Momo Diame who play centre midfield are awesome, you are going to have your hands full with them, they knock the ball around really well and both are very strong in the tackle, two very impressive signings, which of Paul Hart`s summer signings have impressed so far for Pompey?
Pompey Rug - They all bring something different yet all also have the same overall quality really, if that makes sense. Basically they have different individual attributes that set them slightly apart but all have a never say die, 100% committed and dedicated attitude that I love and want to see by players that pull on the Pompey shirt.
I am a big fan of Tommy Smith, who has stepped up a league and whilst you can see he is not quite a year-in-year-out premier league player you see how hard he works and to be fair has more quality than I thought - he is getting another premier league chance and is taking it, now he just needs a few goals!
The returning Michael Brown has also impressed me and Kevin-Prince Boateng has been totally different to what I thought he would be.
worbo - Many people are pointing to our demolition of Chelsea as the highlight of the season so far for the Latics and indeed it was the first time we have beaten one of the so called big four in a league game and we were very impressive, but for me the first game of the season win away at Aston Villa was my particular highlight, there were many doubters of Martinez, some still are, but that game showed great intent and possibilities for the season ahead, we could have won by six and that`s no exaggeration, everything just clicked and if we can replicate and maintain that form on a regular basis then we will definitely be challenging for Europe this season.
What`s your Pompey highlight Rug?
Pompey Rug - We have not had a lot to shout about have we, but like I said before the fully committed attitude and nature being shown by ALL the players is something that I am loving, and is what I want.
worbo - Looking at Pompey if there was one player that I could bring to the Latics it would be John Utaka, pacey, direct, and an eye for goal plus he is a striker and we are a little thin on the ground in that department, yep John Utaka for me, if you could choose one of our players Rug to come to Pompey who would it be and why?
Pompey Rug - Can I have that John Utaka guy you are talking about as I have not often seen him... In all honesty, whilst I think we could do with a little more at the back I am not entirely unhappy with that, midfield is I feel well stocked, so we need a striker that knows where the goal is - if that Rodallega guy could score 15-20 goals I would happily take him!
worbo - You took Michael Brown off us in the summer, Brownie was a firm favourite with the fans up here, how`s he settled in and have the Fratton Park faithful taken to him?
Pompey Rug - I mention Brown above, very briefly. I must admit that when I heard we were getting him back I groaned, I moaned and I was not happy - but soon decided, and before he played to be fair, that I would give him a chance.
I know Brown from a previous short loan spell back in the 90s, but also know that he is a better player now to the one we had - history has proven this.
He has a lot more quality on the ball than I remembered, or indeed expected and his attitude is spot on - an ideal captain for us methinks, and took a red card for the team the other week. He will run all day long, put his boot in and never shirk his responsibilities.
Yep, I like him and have been more than happy since he returned and feel I can speak for most when I say they have taken to him as well to be honest.
worbo - I can see us adding to your dismal home form on Saturday Rug, I believe we will beat you, we are a very patient team and play possession football, you could become quite frustrated with us having all the ball and that could lead to free-kicks in our favour and bookings for Pompey players
I am going for 0-0 at half-time with us nicking two goals second half to come away with the three points in a 0-2 win for the Latics.
What`s your prediction?
Pompey Rug - Hart is not afraid to be patient either, maybe he is a little too patient, or is that cautious? There is little chance he will go all out attack, which is fair enough, but he will put players in that could break on you quickly, we just have to take our chances.
I really do think, having lost 8 games already and so many tough ones to come that if we lose this weekend it is just about all over for us - like I said above I will not give up, and I am not being defeatist but 9 defeats with so many 'tough games' to come is a bridge too far, especially as other teams I expect to be down the bottom are picking up some wins.
I am not entirely convinced, but with respect to Wigan you are a side that we 'should' be looking to beat at Fratton - as I am sure you will think the same at the DW Stadium, so I will go for a 2-1 Pompey win!
Thanks for the chat Rug, it`s been great talking, as always, best of luck for the season, after Saturday of course.
Yours truly is grilled by Pompey over on Vital Portsmouth, the article can be read by clicking here
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Date:Friday October 30 2009
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