Clarke: No letting Pompey standards slip

Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler

Third-placed Carlisle United play host to Blackpool this weekend as Pompey look to close a seven-point gap to the Cumbrians   Picture: Joe Pepler

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Matt Clarke has vowed not to let Pompey’s standards slip as they aim to build on their impressive Luton outing.

The Blues turned in one of their best displays of the season to run out 3-1 victors at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday evening.

We have got to go into every game like it is a Luton, like it is a Plymouth – hopefully if we do that we will have enough to get the three points over Stevenage

Matt Clarke

Before the game, Nathan Jones’ side had been unbeaten for nine matches and sat above Pompey in the table.

Now Paul Cook’s bubbling side face Stevenage, determined to record another win.

And Clarke is aware of the importance of not letting their performance levels drop for the Fratton Park encounter.

He said: ‘I think it was a great game of football, exciting, end-to-end, and we were happy to come out on top.

‘You could sense it was an important game and to get the win was a good feeling.

‘Luton have had a good run and you could see from the way they played they felt they could control the game, but on the night we got the better of them.

‘We have got to go into every game like it is a Luton, like it is a Plymouth.

‘Hopefully, if we do that we will have enough to get the three points over Stevenage.

‘There is no exact formula to maintaining standards, it is not something you do consciously. You have to prepare like you would any other game and hopefully it will all work out.

‘You cannot underestimate any team in this league, it is a hard division, every side has strengths and weaknesses, you just have to go out there and treat it like any other game.

‘Winning this would be massive, we have to get on some sort of run, we are more points off the top than we would like so hopefully we can see that gap closed.

‘The level against Luton was very high and we are looking to keep that.’

Stevenage arrive at Fratton Park with three consecutive league wins on their travels.

Yet they remain in 16th spot as they seek to climb the League Two table.

Meanwhile, Pompey are buoyant following that Luton result which has injected a little more belief into supporters.

But Clarke admitted he was particularly relieved when Danny Hylton’s goal was ruled out for offside to prevent the Hatters going 2-0 up early on in the game.

He added: ‘The disallowed goal was a nervous time.

‘That obviously would have changed the game. Maybe it was a little bit lucky, but overall we deserved the win.

‘That’s the way the game goes. One minute you are looking at being 2-0 down, the next we went in at half-time winning.

‘I must admit, Hylton was the wrong side of me so I was hoping it was offside!

‘You look at the lino in hope and, thankfully, his flag was up.

‘Whenever anyone is that side of you, you think maybe there’s a chance, maybe we were lucky or it was good line from us.

‘But we went on to win the game, and deservedly so, to keep in touch at the top.’

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