PORTLAND United assistant-manager Sam Poole is “confident” the Blues can escape the clutches of the Sydenhams Wessex Premier Division relegation zone.

Speaking to Echosport before lockdown, Poole believes the Blues, who sit in 19th place, have addressed their main problem of conceding goals.

Portland have conceded eight goals on three separate occasions this season and were thumped 14-1 by Poole Town in a pre-season friendly.

However, new boss Franklyn Clarke and Poole have steadied the ship – despite conceding eight at Cowes Sports in their second game.

Poole insisted a repeat of the Cowes loss under the duo’s fresh leadership “certainly won’t be happening again.”

He said: “Yeah, we’re confident of keeping them up. The biggest problem before coming in was conceding goals.

“That’s something we needed to address right away, so we opted for a 3-5-2 formation.

“It was a shame at Cowes, the boys dropped their heads and were used to conceding too many goals in games.

“When it gets to a certain stage it’s hard to get out of that mindset.

“That was a blip in terms of mine and Frank’s time at Portland. That certainly won’t be happening again.

“In the grand scheme of things we’re a new team. We’ve brought six or seven players in and it’s a learning curve this season.

“We’re only going to get better as we gel more as a team and Frank and I can get our ideas across in training and go and perform on a Saturday.”