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Nicholson on Portsmouth, the impact of the subs and upcoming schedule

20 February 2018

Caretaker head coach Barry Nicholson has given his thoughts on the narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

Nicholson saw a spirited performance from his side but a late push after Conor McAleny's wonder strike wasn’t enough to cancel out Jamal Lowe’s and Oliver Hawkins' goals. 

Nicholson's thoughts on the match…

“I am obviously disappointed with the result. It’s a sore one to take.

“We started off brightly and did well in the first 10-15 minutes of the match, but the goal put us on the back foot.

“That seems to happen when you are on the run we are, and you could see the boys' head drop.

“The second goal was a poor goal to concede and at 2-0 it’s a hard to come back from that, but the lads responded well and Conor’s goal was really good and that pushed us on.

“I am sure there will be plenty of positives when I look back through the game and we need to take those positive forward with us.

“I can’t fault the players effort. They gave me everything tonight."

On Town’s start to the match…

“We did and we started brightly, knocked the ball around well and looked to switch the play when we could.

“Maybe we were a bit too rushed at times to get on the ball and missed the short ones, and that’s something we should have done.

“I wished the players were a bit more aggressive in their positioning and being on the front foot and I did say that, but their goal like I said put us on the back step.

“My job is to now get the boys going again for Saturday."

On Joe Maguire and Harrison Biggins’ performances…

“Joe did well and slotted into that left wing back role well, and it’s difficult to do that when you haven’t played for a long period of time.

“Harrison is one I toyed with about playing, but I thought we needed somebody to get on the ball in the middle of the park.

“For someone so young I thought he did well. He is a young talent and he’s one who always wants to learn on the training ground.”

On the impact of the substitutes…

“We needed to change things once that second goal went in and go more attacking.

“Wes [Burns] gave us that down the right hand side and he was direct with what he did, and it was just a matter of that ball in the final third.

“Conor has that ability and has been great in that position where he drifts off the front man.

He scored a great goal tonight to get us back into the game.

“I am pleased for him and he was frustrated not to have started the match but I have no complaints."

On looking ahead to Saturday’s big game against MK Dons…

“I will be going to Rochdale tomorrow night to watch them against MK Dons.

“It is a massive game on Saturday, but it’s important we get the players recovered before they’re back on the training ground.

“I now have to go and pick the right team for Saturday.”


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