The Opposition View: Doncaster

Last updated : 10 February 2011 By Jim Bonner

Adam Stubbings answers the questions I put to him ahead of Pompey's first trip to Doncaster since 1983.

Doncaster currently sit in mid-table but with two games in hand on most of the teams above them. Is a late push for the play-offs out of the question?

Well they're not easy games in hand. We go to
Ipswich on Tuesday and then have a trip to Derby in a couple of weeks. Sadly, the way we have been playing recently doesn't lend itself to the idea that we can make the play-offs.

Our recent poor form has seen our hopes of a top 6 finish fade somewhat but if we can string a few wins together right now, with the nature of this league, it is still possible. But I'm not overly optimistic of that.

Are you happy with your club's dealings in the January transfer window? Do you expect any more players to arrive on emergency loan?

We signed Matt Kilgallon on loan to strengthen the defence, and brought in Paul Keegan from Bohemians. He has been encouraging in his first few games, he appears to be the tough-tackling, no nonsense midfielder we have been missing since Richie Wellens moved to
Leicester 18 months ago.

Overall I'm happy with our dealings but our current injury crisis means we may have to delve into the loan market if the funds are available.

Are you worried that Sean O'Driscoll may leave for a "bigger club that can fulfil his aspirations" come the summer or do you think he will try and take Donny even further?

I'm more expectant of his departure than worried about it. We've now seen attempts to prise him away from
Burnley and Sheffield United fail and it seems Sean is still committed to the club. But he is highly rated and continues to do a fantastic job for us.

I expect that by the summer or early into next year the right job will become available to him. He is a lifelong Wolves fan and if they continue to struggle he may be who they turn to. He has been brilliant for us but if he goes to a better club then he will go with the good wishes of everybody at this club I think.

This will be
Portsmouth's first visit to the Keepmoat Stadium. What's your personal opinion of the new stadium? Do you prefer it to Belle Vue?

The new stadium earns a lot of ire from our supporters. It is seen as a generic, somewhat soulless ground. The atmosphere is the big sticking point, whether it's the acoustics to blame or whether or fanbase is just poor and unenthusiastic, it has long been a problem. Hell, some fans even jokingly refer to it as the 'Keepquiet Stadium'.

Personally the stadium has many plus points - the facilities themselves are really good, modern and useful. Plus it is a massive improvement on Belle Vue. Whilst Belle Vue had a great atmosphere and a great playing surface, it was for all intents and purposes an old shed. The effects of the legislation brought in after the Valley Parade fire and the insurance scam by our old chairman left the ground really run-down, decrepit and poor. I'm surprised it passed league standards when we got promoted from the Conference.

Whilst the intimidating atmosphere and history of Belle Vue are no longer around, the improved facilities, higher capacity and commercial viability of the Keepmoat Stadium are a lot better, and it was definitely necessary for us to move to a new stadium.

I prefer Belle Vue really but that's because it holds a ton of great memories for me. I doubt the stadium will have much effect on Portsmouth, it's certainly a lot more like the modern grounds we see a lot than Fratton Park.

Do Billy Sharp and James Coppinger remain the key players in your team or have others stepped up to the plate as the season has progressed?

Both of these players remain vitally important to our attacking threat. Sharp is top scorer and has just come off a great run of goal-scoring form. He remains our biggest threat, but he has shared the scoring burden with James Hayter this season.

Hayter has really stepped up to the plate, he even scored in our win at Fratton Park earlier in the season. Fortunately for you he is currently out with a torn calf muscle. Coppinger is just back from injury, but his influence has diminished as the season has gone on. He hasn't been scoring goals but the defeat at Millwall last Saturday proved we need him in the team as without him, we had absolutely no width.

In the previous interview you mentioned that the defence is your team's biggest weakness. Is this still the case?

I'd say so, yes. We have had better defensive performances in the last two games but overall we are still shipping needlessly high amounts of goals and letting many leads slip. The form of goalkeeper Neil Sullivan has disappeared and with several key defenders still out injured we have been unable to keep a settled back four. We are still as threatening in attack as we are vulnerable in defence.

After the 3-2 thriller at
Fratton Park, are you expecting another entertaining game? Do you fancy your chances given that Pompey haven't won in 10 games?

All bad runs come to an end sometime. We were fortunate to take on a
Portsmouth side missing Liam Lawrence last time out, and we are in poor form ourselves. Only one win since New Year's Day, and that in itself was courtesy of an own goal.

I think it has the potential to be an entertaining game but it is probably better for us if it isn't. Generally the high-scoring games in our season so far have been down to poor defending, and we need to iron that out of our game. Portsmouth have some strong players that we will need to be very wary of. The victory at Fratton Park is my personal highlight of the season so far, and I'd be delighted with another entertaining game this weekend...especially if it has the same outcome of three points!

Predict the outcome of the game.

I'll go for a 1-1 draw, I can see this one being a close game ending in a stalemate.