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Fixture News

Gallen: Selection Headaches After Cup Win

Assistant manager reflects on victory over Birmingham

6 August 2019

Ben Close celebrates scoring for Pompey against Birmingham in the Carabao Cup
Photo: Robin Jones

Ellis Harrison and Ben Close had to contend with a place on the bench in the opening game of the season on Saturday.

So the duo were eager to make the most of starts in Pompey’s Carabao Cup first round tie against Birmingham at Fratton Park

The former opened his account for the club with a brace of headers, the first of which just about crossed the line.

Close’s first goal of the season – which was sandwiched in between – was a fine volleyed effort that flew into the bottom corner.

And Joe Gallen admitted that their performances in the 3-0 triumph will give the Blues food for thought in terms of team selection.

Pompey’s assistant manager said: “John Marquis couldn’t be with us because his partner’s given birth, but we feel like we’ve got a very good squad that’s capable of competing in League One.

“Ellis has stepped up with those two goals and staked a claim for the next game against Tranmere on Saturday.

“He didn’t score in our pre-season matches, despite playing very well, and any striker knows that the ball has to hit the net.

"Ellis has stepped up with those two goals and staked a claim for the next game against Tranmere on Saturday."

Joe Gallen

“I haven’t seen the first one again, but the referee obviously thought it crossed the line and awarded the goal.

“The second one was an accomplished finish and it will do his confidence the world of good going forward.

“Ben has been an excellent player for us and was probably unlucky not to play at the weekend. It was a great goal and I’m sure there are going to be some selection headaches for the manager.”

Pompey can now look forward to appearing in the second round of the competition for the first time since 2015.

Gallen said: “Our season’s up and running after that result because we were disappointed with the performance at Shrewsbury.

“A cup run can bring in added finance. There’s the prospect of a decent draw in the next round and then bigger clubs come in the further you go.

“But the league is our main focus – there’s no point in denying that – and we want to get that first win on Saturday.”

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