Date: 9th November 2009 at 11:22pm
Written by:

Mikey Delap, from Vital Blackburn and myself, pompeyrug, answers some questions we came up with in reflection on the Blackburn win over Pompey. We reflect on what was and what might be still…

Pascal Chimbonda – should he have gone?

pompeyrug – I would say most certainly, you cannot raise your hands to an opponent can you? Had he seen red, as I feel he should, I reckon that we would have gone on to win, but hey ho you cannot live off ‘if onlys’ can you… We aided to our own downfall in many ways.

Mikey Delap – From a Rovers point of view I have seen incidents like that and some players have been sent off and others haven’t. From a more neutral stand point and if the roles were reversed and O’Hara has belted Chimbonda I would have been screaming for the opposition player to be sent off. So in answer to the question… yes he more than likely should have gone but I am grateful he didn’t!

Was it Fat Sam’s tactical changes at half time that swayed it or just poor Pompey defending?

pompeyrug – Obviously going very attack minded, with the quality of attack minded players that came on, this made a difference. Although, for me, I think – as daft as it sounds – going in 1-0 up at half time worked against us! If anything it was a bad thing for us to have done so as I always felt we would look to defend a lead if we had it. I reckon we should have pushed on and gone for the throat after going ahead and missed a trick by not doing so…

Mikey Delap – I wouldn’t necessarily say it was poor defending from your part that swayed things but the fact you sat back on your 1-0 lead certainly helped the Rovers. I will go out on a limb and praise Allardyce for his tactical changes and going for the jugular. We needed to but he recognised that there were two players to bring on who had points to make and he used that to our advantage.

So I will say mainly Sam’s tactical changes but there were other smaller factors in the way it panned out as well.

The margins are fine are they not! Had Blackburn lost that they could have been around bottom of the table but as it is they are now around midtable, whereas Pompey stay rock bottom – will Blackburn kick on from this and can Pompey survive?

pompeyrug – It is going to be tight at the bottom again this season, although I would think that Blackburn have more than enough quality to stay up – home form will make the difference and I think that is 4 straight home wins for you guys, right? Also having the attacking threat you do makes a lot of difference.

You look at the table now and it does not look good for Pompey, with 7 games against ‘the big 4’ to come and having lost 9 already it is seeming desperate but it is still tight, we just need to string together a couple of wins – I think games against the likes of Blackburn, Stoke, Bolton, Wigan, Hull, Birmingham and Wolves will make a hell of a difference so if it was me I would be going all out to win these from now on – points help them more than us. I know that I would go to Stoke all guns blazing in our next game as I would rather see us lose going for it than try and hold for a point only to probably lose anyway, again are points really any good for us at this stage though?

Mikey Delap – Yes it is certainly a nightmare down there at present. We could easily win our next three fixtures and be in 7th or lose them and be at the bottom, bit of a minefield one would say!

It was important we won from an Ewood perspective and yes I believe we can kick on. The next few fixtures are Bolton away, Stoke at home and Fulham away so they are fixtures we can pick up points from I would say, I would be disappointed if we didn’t kick on from here.

As for Pompey, yes they can certainly survive. They have the battling qualities to make a good fight of it and the manager Paul Hart has put a good work ethic into the team. The jury will be out for a while I fear but yes, Pompey can do it.

With most chairmen very trigger happy at the moment in the current Premiership climate how long do you think Paul Hart will be in a job?

pompeyrug – I cannot really thank Paul Hart enough for what is basically a ‘thankless task’ that he is faced with – in many ways he is damned if he does and damned if he does not! You show me another manager that would have worked under the conditions that he has and I would be very surprised. He has, at times, almost kept us afloat single handed really and for that my hat is off to him.

I do think that he needs to be a little more attack minded sometimes, games against the likes of yourself, Fulham Wigan, Wolves, Hull, Stoke, Birmingham, Bolton and the like are games that we MUST look to win at home, and we have already lost at home against Fulham and Bolton, and go for points at least away, but you have beaten us away. The mini league of 6-10 teams is what we need most points from so I wish Hart would just ‘go for it’ as we need wins, without these it is almost inevitable that in the end the trigger will be pulled – so now it is up to him to ensure it is not…

Mikey Delap – I think he will be there for a while. I kind of get the sense that Pompey will eventually call in a big gun at some point when the finances are a little more settled and they can attract a manager with more name value than the hard working Paul Hart but at present he is doing very well.

It must be crazy with him having to keep attention on the on-field matters at the club but he is doing as good a job as could be expected under the circumstances. To me he seems a clever, sensible and honest man and it is refreshing to see.

So in answer to the question – I would probably say at least until the end of the season.

It was the battle of the potential England goalkeepers on Saturday which somewhat slipped under the radar, how do you feel they got on?

pompeyrug – I thought that they both did ok, and was pretty surprised that both were left out of the squad to faced Brazil! Foster is not even playing for Manyoo, yet he still gets selected – I do not get it? There is so little experience in the squad keeper wise with what we have I would be amazed if one of the two did not go.

As for the weekend I think Robinson again showed his vulnerability from range, I cannot think of another keeper that is beaten so many times from range as he is I must admit. Some have said ‘James of old’ would have saved at least one of the goals, but I cannot fault him. Neither had a lot to do really did they?

Mikey Delap – Both had mixed days in my book. David James emerged with the most credit as he could do very little about the Rovers goals and Paul really should have done a little better with the Jamie O’Hara long distance bullet but then it was a difficult day for keepers.

Both looked fairly commanding and deserve praise for their ability on crosses and commanding of their areas.

James was the slightly better keeper on they day all things considered but neither had buckets loads to do outside of picking the ball out of the net.

Who do you feel was the best player from each side when all was said and done?

pompeyrug – I think that Roberts and McCarthy made a real difference in the 2nd half when they came on. Both were a handful, but I would just give it to McCarthy I think – now he is a player, if he played like that regularly, that I would love us to sign in January, although I cannot see it to be honest!

For us, it is a tough one as I am not sure anyone really stood out head and shoulder over anyone else – this is often the case with us as we have a real team ethic going on, even if that was missing at the weekend for some of the game. I would say O’Hara seemed to pull the strings, so just about him.

Mikey Delap – Blackburn – Benni McCarthy. After that display in the second half Sam might not want him to leave. He was technically superb and did everything but score. By the end he was crowd pleasing which is always a sign he has had a good day at the office!

Pompey – Aruna Dindane. Before he was bought off he was a pain in the backside for Gael Givet and Ryan Nelsen. Strong running and a willingness to pres the ball kept Pompey on top in the first half. Good player.

Questions answered by myself and Mikey Delap from Vital Blackburn.


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