Assistant boss reflects on Northampton loss
Pompey will enter the play-offs on the back of a defeat after losing 2-1 at home to champions Northampton.
But Leam Richardson believes they can still take plenty of positives ahead of those two vital clashes with Plymouth.
A fit-again Jack Whatmough made his first start for more than a year, while fellow academy graduates Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close – who limped off after the break – also featured.
There was also a stunning strike from Kal Naismith – seconds after Kieron Freeman had been sent off – to draw the Blues level.
And despite James Collins grabbing a late Cobblers winner, Richardson was not feeling too downbeat.
Pompey’s assistant manager said: “It doesn’t help to go down to 10 men so early in the second half, but the lads acquitted themselves well.
“There were some good individual performances, although we weren’t as energetic as we’d have liked in the first half.
“But we were playing against a great side who are champions for a reason and we have to give them every credit.
“We knew it was going to be two good teams facing each other and we’re disappointed to lose the game.
“But once we look back on the result and can digest things then we ticked a lot of positive boxes.
“It was important for Jack to be out on the pitch and get minutes under his belt, and it was a great strike from Kal.
“We see things like that every day from him in training and the gaffer’s trying to squeeze the best out of him.
“Hopefully it was just cramp for Ben – that’s certainly the early assessment and we’ll keep our fingers crossed. We’ll have to dust ourselves down and see where we are.”
The result means that Pompey will be at home for the first leg of the play-offs on Thursday night, but Richardson is not concerned about the order of the fixtures.
He said: “It’s irrelevant who’s at home when – we’ve got at least 180 minutes to beat them and get to Wembley. That’s what we’ll be trying to do.”
Watch the thoughts of Richardson below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the assistant manager and Ben Davies.