Christmas cheer or cold turkey?

Wednesday 26th December 2012 19:39

McLeod: vultures circling

McLeod: vultures circling

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Portsmouth FanZoner James Shipp says the festive season could not be more important for Pompey.

Portsmouth badly need to end the year with some good results

The festive period is a time for a lot of things.

More traditionally, those things are giving, loving and spending time with family. But we all know Christmas' main purpose is to supply an unsociable amount of football.

Santa may or may not be real, I haven't fully decided yet, but what's definitely real is the task of playing four times in the space of nine days. Therefore it's safe to say the Portsmouth squad will have to go easy on the turkey during the festivities, or maybe just lay off all the trimmings.

Historically, the Blues do not enjoy the hectic spell that surrounds what's supposed to be, the most wonderful time of the year. So with 12 points on offer over the next week and a half, how close Pompey get to that maximum total remains to be seen.

Home fixtures against Crawley and Yeovil are followed up by trips to Swindon and Walsall, and although the trip to the County Ground on News Year Day looks a certain defeat on paper, the other three games are certainly winnable.

But with Pompey's already paper-thin squad getting smaller by the day, the prospect of more than 360 minutes on the pitch is a daunting one.

Interim manager Guy Whittingham has recognised the significance of this next week or so. He's not been helped by Birmingham though, who have recalled on-loan striker Jake Jervis. The 21 year-old had looked dangerous in attack, but along with winger Jack Compton who has now joined Colchester, he won't be available during this testing spell.

January is looming large too, with every single player out of contract bar youngsters Adam Webster and Ashley Harris.

With 11 goals to his name this season, Izale McLeod is attracting the interest of various League One rivals, whereas defender Gabor Gyepes recently admitted he will consider his future because of homesickness.


It's going to be a very busy fortnight or so, that's for sure. If there is a mass exodus to kick-off 2013, it's important Whittingham gets the most out of his men while he still has them. And as clichéd as it sounds, all Whittingham wants for Christmas, is not you, but at least three wins out of four.

Fringe players such as Liam Walker, Harris and Lubomir Michalik will have a part to play as the matches come thick and fast, as the Blues look to ensure they keep their limited options as fresh as possible.

But they're up against the history books, given that in the past eleven seasons, Pompey have failed to win more than once in the frantic festive fixtures. A bad Christmas, added to the inevitable minus ten points deduction on the horizon, and relegation to League Two could be pretty much wrapped up.

Much like the presents under your Christmas tree.

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