Fortress Fratton is key to survival

Burnley manager Eddie Howe

Burnley manager Eddie Howe

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Fortress Fratton will be the key to survival, according to Michael Appleton.

Pompey face another vital home encounter with Eddie Howe’s Burnley tomorrow in the battle to stay in the Championship, fresh from their midweek success at home to Hull.

And with four of their remaining seven fixtures at Fratton Park, Appleton believes home advantage can fire them to safety – and he has identified the fans’ vocal backing as a vital factor.

He said: ‘Ideally, it would be the target to win all of our remaining home games.

‘But it depends what you do away from home and it depends what the other teams do as well.

‘We’ve got four games at home and we know they are going to be crucial.

‘The fans were fantastic the other night and we need them again.

‘The boys gave the fans the opportunity to do that for us and that’s the most important thing and the message I have been trying to pass on to the players.

‘I told them “the fans will always get behind you but if you start games like we did the other night, they will get right behind you from minute one”.

‘The place was lifted right from the start. They went about it in the right way and it’s very easy to continue that throughout the game if you start like that.’

Appleton, however, refused to set a points target for his men, insisting it would serve only as a distraction.

He said: ‘There is no target in terms of points.

‘If we start thinking ahead too quickly, we’ll lose against Burnley.

‘If we take our eye off the ball for one second, we will be in trouble.

‘We have got to take every 90 minutes as it comes.’

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