Capitulation at the Riverside
Pompey have had a great season, that is clear, 9 wins away from home outweighs anything we have done for years, The cup is less than 2 weeks away, and we have a chance for the first meaningful silverware since the start of the 50's.
Thing is, have we slipped into a comfort-zone? If players are suddenly ducking out of challenges and not tracking players at set-pieces, how are they sure it won't stick with them when it matters?
We hadn't lost 3 on the bounce since the days of Perrin, but there is a real chance it could be 4 by the time Fulham have left Fratton, they will be putting bodies on the line, sticking their heads in where it hurts, but will we? I doubt it.
The fear of getting crunched a week or two before a cup final is understandable, who would want to miss out now? But what the players must realise is that the fans still shelled out 30+ quid for at ticket each, they want the commitment, and we want players to earn the right to play in the final.
Trouble is though, I think everyone knows the starting line-up for the cup final, 2 weeks in advance I will predict that if all fit it will be,
James, Johnson, Hreidarsson, Distin, Campbell, Diarra, Diop, Muntari, Kranjcar, Utaka and Kanu.
I know it, the players know it, so why should the ones in that line up want to get hurt, and why would the fringe players feel the need to prove themselves in a fruitless attempt to break into the starting line up.
Ther are a couple of players who haven't performed in weeks, the fans know who they are, they can do it when it matters hopefully, but can they lift themselves out of cruise control on the day, when they have been going through the motions for so long?