Pompey skipper targets five wins

Pompey skipper Liam Lawrence
Pompey skipper Liam Lawrence
Pompey's Brett Pitman scores a penalty in the Blues' 1-1 draw against Walsall at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Picture gallery: Pompey 1 Walsall 1

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Liam Lawrence has challenged Pompey to win five of their remaining seven games to make the play-off dream a reality.

The Blues skipper is convinced 69 points will be enough to secure one of the four spots up for grabs.

As it stands, Steve Cotterill’s men are among 11 clubs pursuing the play-offs.

But, with a tally of 54 points, they remain the furthest adrift.

For some supporters, Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Reading has now ended such aspirations in what has been a topsy-turvy season.

Not in Lawrence’s mind, however.

And he is adamant another five wins between now and May 7 can clinch them a prized place in the top six.

He said: ‘I think all four of those places are still up for grabs. We’ll need to win five out of our last seven games, though.

‘And if we do that we’ll get there.

‘That Reading defeat was a setback, for sure, but we are still the same amount of points away from the play-offs as we were before the game.

‘It’s definitely still possible.

‘There are a few teams in there starting to twitch a little bit now as well.

‘Looking at our fixtures, I think they are all winnable games.

‘On our day we can beat anybody.

‘We proved at Reading once again we can mix it with the best teams in the league and I think we will be all right.

‘We’ve got a great team spirit and a great set of lads.

‘In games like that you need that and we’ve got some big games coming up.

‘We’ve got two home games in a week soon, so if we win them we are right back amongst it.

‘I still believe every game we have got left we can win, no problem.’

Pompey face struggling Pres-ton on Saturday followed by managerless Coventry 72 hours later – both at Fratton Park.

They represent realistic opportunities to swiftly get the play-off bid back on track.

The next four matches are all against play-off contenders – Cardiff (away), Swansea (home), Burnley (away) and Norwich (home).

Finally, a trip to Scunthorpe completes the season.

And Lawrence believes the Blues’ Reading display shows they have what it takes to compete with their promotion rivals.

He added: ‘I thought we played well against Reading.

‘I am quite an honest guy and if we were rubbish I would say to you we were rubbish, but I thought we played well and should have won the game.

‘We had chances in the first half and, even though we had 10 men, we were the better side.

‘You look at their goals and for the first one, obviously, our keeper has got to do a bit better with that and he knows that.

‘The second one was a farce and we lost the game in the end.

‘The decisions have not helped.

‘It was up to us to keep battling on and that’s what we did. I thought we battled well.’