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Gaffer: 'Solid If Unspectacular'

15 December 2012

Manager Graham Westley reflected on a solid away performance at Portsmouth with a well-deserved point the outcome.

The Lilywhites drew 0-0 with the 2008 FA Cup holders, and created three golden opportunities to win the game, despite Pompey missing a penalty early in the first half.

The North End gaffer made six changes from the game against Crewe last weekend with Joel Byrom, Chris Beardsley, Andy Procter, David Buchanan, Bailey Wright and Jack King all coming into the fray for Preston.

Praising his team on keeping a clean sheet for the second time in three games, Westley said: “Portsmouth is never an easy place to come to. Whatever situation the club is in, the fanbase and the quality of players that they have, they are never going to make it an easy journey.

“It was a hard-working performance, we made a number of changes - even though it was going to be difficult for the lads to show genuine organisation. 

“On the whole they worked hard on their organisation and to stay solid and we have come away with the clean sheet. There were a couple of great saves from our goalkeeper, but mainly down to the work rate and the attitude of the team.

“We have done enough going forward to carve out some good chances and we could have easily won it through Anthony Elding in the first half, likewise David Buchanan. Chris Beardsley had a good opportunity in the second half. It was a solid away performance if unspectacular.  

“We missed three very good chances and if one of those had gone in it would have been a different story. You are not going to win 5-0 on a consistent basis, we have played a solid and professional game and keeping a clean sheet is positive.”

King, who has operated as an attacker in recent weeks reverted to right back, a position he held earlier this season, whilst Aussie centre half Wright returned in place of Paul Huntington.

Pleased with how his team coped with the changes, Westley is ready to keep on working as North End aim to be winners on a consistent basis.

“We lost two games after Scott Laird and Keith Keane went out of the backline and we have had to do a lot of reshaping to get our back four back together. 

“When you are reshaping a back four, you want to get that working well and sustain momentum going forward. We have had enough of a forward game to have some good moments and we could have easily won. 

“The players have coped with the difficulties, solved the problems in the game and they deserve a lot of credit for the hard work they have put in. 

“When need to keep building on both sides of our game, we need to keep working on our set plays. We witnessed moments of disorganisation when we were hit on the counter following an attack and players let runners go into the box.

“There was disorganisation due to changes, but necessary changes and the organisation risks had to be taken because we had to move on from the couple of disappointing results that we have had.

“Credit to the lads, they have got themselves back together, back to picking up points today at a difficult venue. The whole squad will take a lot of confidence from the progress.”

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