PAUL ROBINSON pleaded with Andy Awford: Don’t rest me, gaffer.
Awford is promising to shuffle his pack for tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second-round tie with Northampton.
The Blues boss is restricted, however, by competition rules which state you must play six players who started in the previous game or six of the team’s highest appearance-makers.
After building a tinkerman reputation this season, Awford has kept his team the same for three games on the bounce, before making two switches at York on Saturday.
Robinson has been a constant presence, though, missing just the opening game of the season at Exeter after arriving on loan from Millwall.
The 32-year-old is keen to keep up that run after finding himself on the fringes with the Championship side.
Robinson said: ‘You want to play games and I’m happy to play games.
‘It’s been a while since I’ve been playing regularly, and that is something I’m doing here now.
‘So that is something I’d like to keep up, if I could.
‘Being 6ft 2in and being a big centre-half, I feel I need to play to get a rhythm.
‘That is something you get from playing a run of games.
‘I need to play games to produce my best form.’
Pompey now find themselves five wins from a Wembley appearance, after picking up a 3-1 success over Yeovil last time out.
That was named as the performance of the round by the competition sponsors.
Robinson feels a trip to the home of football is big enough motivation going into tonight’s game.
He said: ‘This is a competition with a very good prize of playing at Wembley at the end of it.
‘You never know with the play-offs, but this has a good reward at the end of it.
‘The club has a great day out, it’s a fantastic place to play and I don’t think anyone would turn down the chance of a trip there.
‘Beating Northampton and going through to the next round will keep that opportunity alive.’
Robinson reckons picking up a winning habit after three draws on the spin is another factor to fire up the Blues.
That isn’t going to be an easy task, though, against a side who have won four of their last six games.
Northampton will also have memories of the 2-0 league defeat at Fratton Park in August.
They were second best that day as the Blues picked up a comfortable success through goals from Craig Westcarr and Jed Wallace.
‘Playing well and winning games is a habit, so if we can do that in the JPT that is great,’ added Robinson.
‘Whatever game is put in front of us we want to make sure we go out and get the win.
‘Northampton will come down with a point to prove after we beat them in the league earlier in the season.
‘They will want to come in with a reaction to that and put in a good performance.
‘We will have to make sure we are at it and ready to give a good account of ourselves.’