Skipper: One performance can turn things around

Brian Howard concedes it's been a difficult week for Pompey     Picture: Barry Zee
Brian Howard concedes it's been a difficult week for Pompey Picture: Barry Zee

Brian Howard believes Pompey can forget a turbulent week with the right result at Bury.

On the back of two poor team performances, the loss of manager Michael Appleton and some ongoing dark times behind the scenes at Fratton Park, the captain is determined to deliver some positive news.

And he believes victory at Gigg Lane tomorrow could be the spark that everyone needs.

Howard said: ‘You play two bad games and people think you are the worst team in the world and everyone should retire.

‘But you get one win and, all of a sudden, everyone is buzzing again.

‘We all know how quickly things can change in football. But we all know we need a win or a good performance to get things going again.

‘We are all men now and we have to stand up and be counted.

‘We were poor against Brentford but you judge your character on how you bounce back from those situations.

‘To anyone watching the other night, it probably looked like we didn’t care but I can assure you we do.

‘It’s about putting that right now.’

Howard is experienced enough to have seen managers come and go during his career.

Even though he had a good relationship with the former manager, Howard was not informed of Appleton’s departure for Blackpool until it was confirmed by the two clubs on Wednesday evening and was certainly not in the loop.

But most of the Blues players expected Tuesday night would be Appleton’s last game after the intense speculation.

Regardless, Howard is keen to draw a line under the Brentford performance and his primary concern is to rediscover his own form after some patchy recent displays.

He said: ‘Nothing really surprises you in football these days.

‘You have to be prepared and most of us have all been in this situation in the past at various clubs.

‘Personally, I’ve had tough times before myself. You don’t ever try to play badly but your legs don’t do what you want them to do or you give a couple of passes away and it’s just not as easy as it was before.

‘The better players come out of it on the other side and I will be looking to do that.

‘You go back to basics. You win headers, tackles and second balls and build it back up from there.

‘I think we all need to do that a little bit and make ourselves that bit harder to play against.’

While that involves Pompey winning their personal battles all over the pitch, the former Reading man is determined to see the Blues find their passing style once again.

Howard said: ‘We will go to a team in Bury who will crash it forward and I think we got dragged into that against Brentford the other night.

‘We didn’t play our football. We played it long and when we do that, we look a poor side.

‘We’ve got to show some determination, show some guts and get on the ball and play.

‘We’re ready for the battle ahead but we’ve got some quality players and we need to start showing that a bit more than we have in recent games.’