Pompey told to earn the right to play against Newport

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

Danny Hollands told Pompey they have to win the right to play against Newport County.

The Blues face a physical test of their credentials at Fratton Park tomorrow, as they return to League Two action against the Exiles.

Andy Awford will look to make it 12 unbeaten league games since he came into the manager’s job in March.

That’s after Wednesday’s Capital One Cup exit at Premier League outfit Stoke.

Hollands knows exactly what kind of test Justin Edinburgh’s side will bring to the table.

The 28-year-old made his Pompey debut at Rodney Parade in the game which sparked the team’s run to safety last season.

Hollands feels Awford’s men will have to contend with Newport’s power before letting their quality tell.

He said: ‘We have to take the positives from Wednesday and look to keep the momentum going.

‘At the same time we have to remember that losing feeling.

‘We don’t want to feel that too often this season.

‘Wednesday was a loss that makes us hungry to keep progressing.

‘It was my first game against Newport when I arrived at the club.

‘They are a tough side and they won’t change their approach when they come to our patch.

‘We have to make sure we do the physical side.

‘There are no rules in football about how you score a goal.

‘They might be a bit more direct than us but it’s effective.

‘We have to stop that and then make sure our positives dominate their positives.

‘That’s how we come out on top. We have to win our battles and the right to play.

‘That’s how you win the game at the end of the day.’

Awford will again be expected to shuffle his Pompey pack for their fifth league game of the season.

He has made 25 changes in those outings so far, including eight at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday.

Hollands knows there is the quality to do that – something underlined in reasonably tough fixtures to date.

Now Pompey have to be on their guard against a team who have picked up a single league point so far.

Hollands said: ‘If you look around the squad, there are some great players. It’s a good squad to be part of.

‘I think there is enough in this squad to deal with the problems teams pose.

‘We coped with a tough test last weekend at Oxford.

‘There will be a few more of them this season.

‘The teams so far, maybe with the exception of Exeter, will be up there fighting.

‘They have been good teams and strong tests – and we’ve come away with points.

‘But every team which comes to Portsmouth wants to make life difficult for us.

‘We’re a scalp, so we have to make sure we’re on our game more than they are.’