Pompey skipper told to change his ways

Brian Howard is suspended for Monday's trip to Sheffield United

Brian Howard is suspended for Monday's trip to Sheffield United

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Brian Howard has been warned he must change his game.

The Pompey skipper is out of Monday’s trip to Sheffield United through suspension.

He picked up his fifth booking of the season during the second half of the midweek defeat at Stevenage.

A one-match ban has now automatically kicked in, robbing Howard of the chance to face his former club.

For Blues manager Michael Appleton, it is a frustrating scenario over a player not known for the ferocity of his tackling.

And Appleton will be urging the 29-year-old to tone down his challenges to prevent future suspensions.

He said: ‘Brian is going to miss the game, which is a shame.

‘He needs to make sure that, from now on, he is a little bit more careful in terms of when he chooses to go and make tackles and when he doesn’t have to.

‘For someone who is probably considered more of a ball player rather than a ball-winning midfield player, it is a little bit surprising and something we need to discuss.

‘Dare I say it is the Paul Scholes scenario, who has picked up more bookings than he probably should in his career.

‘I am not saying Brian has the level of ability of Paul Scholes – far from it.

‘But what I am saying is he is a creative midfield player and, obviously, tackling is not his strong point.

‘Sometimes you have got to be patient and stay on your feet and not go to ground.

‘Brian has probably been guilty of going to ground a little bit too much.’

While Howard is out of the Bramall Lane match, Pompey are hopeful Akos Buzsaky will be available.

The midfielder was substituted against Stevenage with a knee problem.

Darel Russell continues to be absent with his hamstring injury.