The Opposition View: Bristol Rovers

Last updated : 12 February 2016 By Jim Bonner

Firstly, what did you make of the reverse fixture when Pompey won 2-1 at the Memorial Ground?

Pompey were very impressive that day, and in fact I'd say that they were one of the best teams to visit the Memorial Stadium this season. We got some momentum going at the start of the second half and equalised early in that half but the winning goal (scored by Stockley?) was a great team goal, and reminiscent of Cook's Chesterfield and in particular their passing style. 

Given how well Bristol Rovers have performed since then, do you think they can last the distance in the promotion race and would you be disappointed if they didn't finish in the play-offs.

It's been pretty unbelievable to be honest. Since our poor run in September and October we've really picked it up at home, whilst maintaining a good away record to leave us in the play-offs. Going on previous points needed to reach the top 7, around 8 wins are probably needed between now and then end of the season. I think that's achievable, and without wanting to diminish our efforts so far I think it'd be a disappointment if we didn't make it from here.

Liam Lawrence used to wear Portsmouth colours once-upon-a-time. What do Rovers fans make of him?

We haven't seen that much of Lawrence yet (only two appearances away at Barnet and Accrington due to a knock he picked up a few weeks ago), but the impression fans got from other clubs and at Barnet was that he's able to control the midfield and add some creativity to it, which is something we needed to invest in over January. I look forward to seeing more of him, perhaps even on Saturday!

In the previous interview you mentioned that Danny Leadbitter and Ellis Harrison were your key players but who has stepped up to the plate since then?

Danny has been important when deployed as a wing-back in the 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation, Ellis has had a very mixed season though. Summed up best by him scoring the winning penalty at Oxford as a sub, and then half an hour later being shipped out on loan to Hartlepool for a month!

Top scorer Matty Taylor has been a good source of goals this season but Tom Lockyer has improved drastically at centre-half. Just 21, he's now one of our key players and is slowly attracting attention from Championship and Premier League outfits. 

Given Pompey's poor run of form do you believe that this is the best time to be playing them?

Pompey seem to be struggling of late but at the same time I fear a reaction. The home fans will be behind the team for a game as important as this, no question. Hopefully if we can frustrate or nick an early goal we may walk away with something. 

What kind of match can we expect at Fratton Park on Saturday?

Unfortunately, I think a tense one. We may do what we did at Oxford, and look to hit on the counter. If that happens, and Pompey are allowed a lot of possession, there could be some nervous players out there given Pompey's recent form.

Predict the outcome of the game.

2-1 to Pompey.