Holmes: We can be pass masters

Pompey winger Ricky Holmes

Pompey winger Ricky Holmes

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Ricky Holmes looked ahead to the new season and promised: We can pass our way out of League Two.

Holmes has dismissed the notion Pompey will not be able to play creative football in English football’s basement division.

The winger knows all about the league the Blues will be operating in next season after spending three years at Barnet.

He reckons there will be plenty of testing nights for the side he moved to on a free transfer in June.

But Holmes insisted the terrain is changing in League Two – and there is a better opportunity to play an expansive game than ever before.

He feels there are no excuses for Pompey not to play an attractive brand of football.

‘There will be tough nights when you have to grind out results – but this league is changing now,’ said Holmes.

‘People talk about going to these places and not being able to play football.

‘But Morecambe is a nice little stadium now. Most of them are, in fact.

‘There are not many in this league that aren’t like that now.

‘A lot of teams will go direct but the pitches are definitely playable in this league.

‘So there are no excuses. There are never any excuses. If you want to use excuses you shouldn’t be playing.

‘Over the last three years it’s definitely changed. We can play football in this league.

‘In my first season in League Two it was gung-ho but times are changing. It’s not all run, run, run. There’s a lot more thought and science in it now.

‘There’s definitely a lot more football being played in League Two.

‘Half the teams will play football when they can.

‘So it may go forward quicker but in the final third there’s more football being played.’

Holmes knows Pompey will face a demanding campaign in terms of fixtures, with 46 league games as well as cup duties in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, Capital One Cup and FA Cup.

But he feels that is something the Pompey squad are more than capable of handling.

The 25-year-old reckons the backroom staff the club have at their disposal will help them handle a congested fixture programme.

He said: ‘It’s going to be demanding this season.

‘But we have staff to look after us. We’re lucky to have them.

‘I don’t believe it’s an excuse to say we were tired or this and that.

‘We’ve always played a lot of football since we were kids.

‘We definitely need to use our squad.

‘I’ve been at Barnet and there was limited staff.

‘Coming here there is a lot more staff and the professionalism here is better.

‘If you want something you have it here.

‘That’s a big advantage to have that.’