Director of football admits Pompey ‘grind’

Steve Coppell
Steve Coppell

Steve Coppell has admitted he has been surprised by the ‘grind’ of Pompey’s progress.

But the Blues’ director of football has stressed Richie Barker and his managerial set-up are giving everything to ensure League Two safety.

Barker has had 18 matches in charge since his December appointment, accruing 20 points and nine clean sheets.

Relegation danger still remains, however, while Pompey have scored just 11 times during that duration.

The style of football has also come under widespread criticism during Barker’s attempts to collect precious points.

And even Coppell admits progress has not been pleasing on the eye.

‘Supporters are looking for green shoots and it is a grind, that is what I would say,’ admitted Coppell.

‘I came in, Richie came in, we all came in as a package and you just think “Yes, new manager syndrome. You make an impact and then it will just go from there – we will be alright, no problem, don’t worry about it”.

‘It hasn’t been that, though. It has been an absolute grind – the 0-0s, the 1-1s. You feel you win a game and are making progress and then the next game get a kick in the teeth.

‘But this is the ultimate test. The prize is worth winning, so let’s give it everything to try to win that prize. You have to earn the right in football.

‘We have to give it our full concentration and commitment to try to improve the team individually and collectively and show the supporters that it’s not just about going out training and turning up on a Saturday.

‘We are not holding anything in reserve for later on, it’s full-on commitment.

‘I am always convinced if you are passionate about something, if you give it everything you’ve got then you will get a return from it.’