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Close Encounters

Midfielder pleased to be back in the team

18 March 2021

He has largely been limited to cameo appearances in Pompey’s midfield this season.

So Ben Close is pleased to have played a more prominent role for the side during the past couple of games.

He came on during the second half of last Saturday’s Papa John’s Trophy final defeat and was on the pitch for the entirety of Tuesday’s league loss at Peterborough.

Close is hoping to keep his spot for this weekend’s home clash with Ipswich, but is searching for a better outcome on this occasion.

He said: “I’ve been out of the team for most of the season, so I was happy to suddenly be involved again at Wembley.

“I was delighted when I found out I was coming on and it’s always special to play there, although obviously the result was really disappointing.

“It’s enjoyable to be out on the pitch and involved again and I got 90 minutes at Peterborough on Tuesday as well.

"It’s hard when you’re getting beaten and you can’t seem to score goals. You need to try to get going again."

Ben Close

“That was a right battle at times and the pitch was tricky to play on, but we dominated the second half and were unlucky to lose.

“It’s hard when you’re getting beaten and you can’t seem to score goals. You need to try to get going again.

“When you’re on a good run you sometimes come off thinking you perhaps haven’t done too much to deserve that.

“But for us currently, we’re working incredibly hard and not getting anything for that. We’ve just got to continue doing the basics and keep a cool head.”

A visit from Ipswich means that former Pompey boss Paul Cook – now in charge of the Tractor Boys – is returning to Fratton Park.

Close said: “The last time we came up against one of his sides was when we beat Wigan a few years ago.

“I remember the atmosphere was amazing that day because the fans always want to beat a club led by an old manager.

“Ipswich have had a couple of disappointing results lately like we have, but we know the way he’ll set up a team. When his sides get going, they’re always really hard to beat.”

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