Michael Doyle: Time for Pompey to kick their bad habit

Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
Michael Doyle. Picture: Joe Pepler
  • One defeat in eight games – but it’s four without a league win for Blues

Michael Doyle has issued the call to his Pompey team-mates: It’s time to get ourselves going again.

The Blues go into tomorrow’s League Two showdown at Carlisle on the back of a four-match winless run.

What’s important is that it doesn’t become a habit of playing badly

Michael Doyle

It’s hardly panic stations just yet, but it is a lull from their flying start to the campaign, which took them to the top of the table in September.

While Pompey earned a 2-1 FA Cup success over Macclesfield two weeks ago, they have not secured a three-point haul since the 1-0 win at Newport County more than a month ago.

Paul Cook’s side have suffered just one defeat in their last eight outings in all competitions and only two in the league all season.

But the Irish midfielder believes the team is not quite firing on all cylinders at present.

And even though they are fourth in the table and very much in the hunt to sustain a promotion challenge, Doyle admits they are disappointed with their current position.

He said: ‘Over 50 games of a season, you are not going to be brilliant for 50 games.

‘But the one thing that’s important is that it doesn’t become a habit of playing badly.

‘Over the course of the season, you will have some highs and lows along the way.

‘Every team goes through that at some stage.

‘It’s been a bit difficult for us lately.

‘But I’m sure things will change and in a while, we won’t even be talking about this.

‘Instead, we will be on a 10 to 12 game winning streak and things will look very different.

‘To be honest, we are probably disappointed with where we are in the league.

‘But the one thing I can say is that the lads are breaking a sweat every day and working really hard.

‘The manager and his staff are also working very hard to make things better.

‘That’s all credit to them with the standards they have set.

‘When players are disappointed to be fourth in the league at this stage in the season, I think it says a lot about them.

‘We all want to improve.’

Pompey travel to Carlisle having only lost their unbeaten away record in their last road trip to Notts County.

But Doyle has also issued his backing to Pompey’s attacking players to rediscover some of their missing fluency.

And he insists he will never start dishing out criticism to his team-mates if positive mistakes are made.

He said: ‘One thing with us is that I think we have always been really positive.

‘That comes from the manager.

‘We expect the attacking players to lose the ball and for it to break down when they are trying to create things.

‘As long as they are trying things, getting shots off and trying to be positive, we will accept that all day.

‘We will never have a go at them for that.

‘Unfortunately for them, it hasn’t been as fluent as we would like lately.

‘A lot of teams get so many players behind the ball so it’s not always that easy. But I’m sure it will come good.’