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We're Going There To Attack - BBM On Trip To Portsmouth

12 April 2019

Brian Barry-Murphy says his side will aim to be on the attack when they face Portsmouth on Saturday.

The Dale boss admits it will be a huge test against the automatic promotion chasers, but wants his players to be on the front foot.

“They’ve been an amazing team this season,” said Barry-Murphy.

“They were strong last season but this season they’ve taken it to a different level. They’ve got a hugely experienced manager and a they’re a fantastic Club.

“It’s obviously going to be a huge test for us in terms of the actual game itself on Saturday, but it’s a ground we’re obviously very excited to visit.

“There were circumstances in last year’s game there that took the game away from us, and the lads are keen to put on a performance that we think we can implement and cause them some problems, which is our aim.

“We don’t aim to go and defend or be on the defensive for all of the game, we aim to be on the attack when we can. We realise that won’t be possible all of the time, but we want to attack when we can really.”

Tuesday’s 1-0 win at Accrington Stanley moved Dale out of the relegation zone, but Barry-Murphy says he is only concerned about his side’s performances.

“It wasn’t really important for me [moving out of the relegation zone]. I was just concerned about the performance levels from the last couple of weeks and there was a continuation of that in Tuesday night’s game.

“I suppose the players are conscious of where we are in the table and, like the supporters, they’re very aware of the consequences of being in the bottom four.

“So it was nice for them to show that we can get out of the bottom four, and produce a performance that allowed us to do that.

“There are parts of our game that we have to improve on. We didn’t play well in the first-half and Accrington were the better team, there’s no doubt about that in my opinion.

“Teams in this league are of a very high standard and it’s inevitable that they are going to have strong periods in the game. We haven’t dealt with that very well over the last season and it’s something I’m very conscious of, that the players have to become resilient when they haven’t got possession and things aren’t going our way.

“That will only come through hard work, application and a sense of unity amongst the players. They’ve shown in recent games, that when the going gets tough, we have responded well.

“Coming from what was a difficult, emotional game against Sunderland, with what happened late on, it was hugely rewarding to see the players really bounce back, be aggressive, be on the front foot and find solutions to the problems that Accrington caused us when they came on strong in the second-half, and that was hugely encouraging for all of us.”

Barry-Murphy also reserved special praise for the 986 Dale fans who backed the lads on to victory at Accrington, remarking on the celebrations between the players and fans at the final whistle.

“It was a great victory for everyone. The support that was there was amazing, and the win was a reward for the supporters, for the effort that they made to get to what was a tricky game.

“We’ve spoken in previous weeks about trying to provide something for the supporters to be proud of. The previous week at Gillingham, in our last away game, was similar. There was a lot of the same elements on show there, in that we fought to the end and showed great resilience.

“There were parts of our performance on Tuesday night that were disappointing from our point of view, but the number one requirement of going away from home and representing your supporters is showing the effort and commitment, and the players have done that in both away games, and that will be necessary again on Saturday, no doubt.

“It’s perfectly normal for the players to celebrate however they want when they win games. It hasn’t been a common occurrence for us, so it’s good that the lads get that feeling of joy and happiness that came from Tuesday night’s game.

“It gives them something to remember in what will be tough moments, in a football context, in the games coming up. I’m sure we’ll come under extreme pressure in all of the games between now and the end of the season, because there’s so much at stake from the outside influences.

“I think it’s very important that the players are allowed to enjoy those moments, because as we all know, they don’t come around all the time, so there has to be a reward for the players’ efforts and that was it.”

Calvin Andrew, who missed Tuesday night’s win at Accrington, may be available for the trip to Fratton Park, with only on-loan Huddersfield Town man Rekeil Pyke unavailable.

“Our guys are good physically. They’re surprisingly fresh and look good in themselves.

“The guys that aren’t in the team at the moment are pushing exceptionally hard and they want to be part of it.

“We have a fully fit squad at the moment. There’s only Rekeil Pyke who’s not fit and available for selection, so other than that we’re fit and ready to go. Calvin is back in training so he’s got a chance of being available for the weekend.

“We’re in good physical health, so there won’t be any excuses on that front from us.”

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