Hollands’ goals keep defying the roles

Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler
Danny Hollands. Picture: Joe Pepler

Danny Hollands has torn off the labels and climbed out of the pigeonhole.

As Pompey fans are only too aware, this is not your architypal holding midfielder.

The 28-year-old possesses goals – and plenty of them during his short Fratton Park career so far.

He finished with five goals in seven appearances at the end of last season and his outstanding loan spell was swiftly made permanent.

Hollands has followed that up by grabbing two more in pre-season, one of which came as a central defender against Bognor.

His other arrived in last weekend’s 2-1 defeat to Charlton – a fixture in which he also struck the bar.

So much for a sitting midfielder focused on holding his position, shielding the defence and feeding others.

Clearly Hollands doesn’t do role stereotypes.

He said: ‘People get the impression I am a holding midfielder but I like to try to do my bit at the other end as well.

‘I think it is because I look a bit unorthodox with my running style and bits and bobs, people think maybe I can’t get around the pitch, but I like to be a box-to-box midfielder up against people two-on-two.

‘I enjoy that side of the game and also trying to get my tackles in and my headers.

‘But I always try to get forward and to get in behind the defence, as a midfielder you have to attempt to be the complete bag.

‘It is a habit and thankfully for me it has dropped a few times over pre-season and I have converted a couple.

‘Hopefully that will continue over the course of the season because I have to do my bit for the team as well.

‘Of course, if I keep scoring the manager gives me license to go forwards.

‘On the other hand you have to try to get your defensive shape and make sure you do that side of it as well.

‘That’s what is good about this team. If one of the centre halves go forwards I have to fill in, if I go forward either the winger or someone else fills in for me.

‘It’s great when you have people willing to do that because some teams you play in have players who won’t do that, they are a bit selfish, but with this group of lads everyone does their bit for the team.’

In terms of his career, Hollands has netted 45 times in 326 appearances for Torquay, Bournemouth, Charlton, Swindon, Gillingham and now the Blues.

However, a hat-trick in the final match of last season against Plymouth was his first in senior football.

The expectancy is there to continue to find the net – and the midfielder has set himself a target.

But he is keeping such figures to himself.

He added: ‘I don’t really want to go into my goal target. With my form last season people obviously expect high numbers but I can only do my best and hopefully it will be good enough come the end of the season.

‘Regardless, I promise people I will give it everything I have to make sure I complete my goals and the standards I set myself.

‘You have to get into good habits, scoring is a habit.

‘It’s about getting into the right places, converting them, building your confidence up and it’s nice to get a couple in pre-season.

‘Hopefully that will continue during the course of the season.’