Now it’s time for the real stuff to start

Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler

MICHAEL DOYLE heralded the end of pre-season and promised: This is where the real work starts.

Pompey completed an unbeaten end to their warm-up programme with a 0-0 draw at League One Gillingham on Saturday.

You just want to get to the first game now where the real work starts.

Michael Doyle

Doyle explained he was pleased to get a good build-up to the league curtain-raiser against Dagenham & Redbridge under his belt – even if he doesn’t enjoy the nature of pre-season games

The 33-year-old believes the graft has been put in by his side now – and it matches any he’s seen from a team at this time of year.

Now the man who will lead out the Blues as skipper this Saturday is ready to get the proper stuff started.

Doyle said: ‘The majority of us have got a full pre-season under our belt and that will stand us in good stead.

‘Getting through a hard pre-season injury free stands you in good stead for the season.

‘I’ve no doubt we are going to get stronger. We work as hard as any team I’ve seen. That’s the truth.

‘I’m happy to get through pre-season. That’s my aim.

‘I’ve never really enjoyed pre-season games, to be honest.

‘You want to get the most out of it and stay injury free.

‘Now pre-season is out of the way we are looking to next week and the league fixtures.

‘You just want to get to the first game now where the real work starts.

‘This is it now. This is where it all counts.’

Doyle could see positives in Pompey’s performance against Justin Edinburgh’s side at Priestfield.

The shape of Paul Cook’s 4-2-3-1 system looked a solid one in a clash which often laboured in the summer sunshine.

But Doyle felt the Blues still have work to do in getting the ball to the team’s creative threats to do damage.

He said: ‘We looked strong and solid.

‘We could have created more because it was half chances.

‘That’s something we can improve on – getting the attacking players more involved.

‘We maybe starved them a bit and need to give them more of the ball to go out and play.’

Doyle highlighted there is still work to do in building understanding in different link-ups throughout the Pompey side.

That is certain to be the case with 11 new arrivals so far this summer.

More will be expected this week, with Matt Clarke due to seal his arrival from Ipswich on loan today.

Doyle said: ‘There are a lot of new players and we are looking at building partnerships.

‘There’s a lot of changes going on at the club.

‘We’re getting to know players and we’re getting to know how people play together.

‘That’s the way football is.

‘You can sign as many players as you want but you need to gel them all together.

‘The thing here is we have good players with a work ethic.

‘We will improve and get better. The manager demands it.’