John Ryan: Our home form can keep us up

The referee makes a pitch inspection, before calling Saturday's match off. Picture: Steve Uttley

The referee makes a pitch inspection, before calling Saturday's match off. Picture: Steve Uttley

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IT was very frustrating and annoying that last Saturday’s home game with Reading was called off.

Every effort had been made to try and ensure the pitch was playable.

We brought in extra sheeting from the racecourse to double up.

We also had hot air blowers going from 6am.

But it did not quite do the trick.

The referee came mid-morning and he made his mind up that it was not going to be playable in certain areas - and so that was it.

I felt that given another four hours to kick off, and with the temperature just slowly rising ahead of the light snow in the afternoon, that we could possibly have played it.

With the tremendous coverage in the Free Press, on local radio and through other media outlets, plus the support of local companies with the sponsor a junior team to the game, I was looking at a bigger than average attendance for the game.

I am continually asked each season after a postponement about under soil heating.

But the fact of the matter is it is very costly to install and maintain.

And then there are the operation costs to consider.

Right now the stadium is not ours to be doing anything with, so it is by the by really.

It is something that we will be more than likely looking at in the future.

Following the postponement it now means we have 18 games still remaining, ten at home and eight away.

We will be hoping to rely on our excellent home form of late.

Everyone of those ten home games will be like a cup final.

If we can accumulate six or seven wins and ensure we don’t lose, then we are on course for 50-51 points, which should see us safe.

And that is without taking into account away matches.

The mood in the camp is a determined one to get us out of the relegation places and climb up the table.

We really just have to stay ahead of Nottingham Forest and Coventry City and keep Millwall and Bristol City in our sights.

That home game with Millwall in the middle of March will be a real six-pointer and we also need to win our game in hand.

Although I don’t want to see it in the interests of football, we could yet see Portsmouth going into administration and being deducted points or even going into liquidation.

We just have to concentrate on our performances and results and aim, as I have said earlier, to climb that league table.

Our six away performances before the 0-0 draw at Hull City last week didn’t yield a single point as we were very vulnerable from set pieces and corners.

But I feel we have reached a watershed with the defensive performance at the KC Stadium.

In the eight games we have away from home we need to try and keep things tight at the back.

Maybe then we can hit the home side on the counter.

I think we could see anything between six to eight points accumulated on the road.

One would like to hope for more - but I haven’t obtained any rose-tinted glasses from Specsavers of late!

That amount of points, on top of what I have stated earlier as a hoped for home return, would then see us nicely up the table and free as a bird.

Then during the summer months we can make positive plans for the 2012-13 campaign.

Hopefully it will be a much better season than we are enjoying right now.