A big few days ahead for Portsmouth after proving Championship worth
Pompey held Championship QPR to ensure a place in the hat for tonight’s FA Cup fifth-round draw. Here’s what Blues writer Jordan Cross learnt from Saturday’s 1-1 draw.
The strength of QPR's starting XI showed the importance Steve McClaren is affording the FA Cup this season.
Yet, for the second game on the bounce, Pompey more than punched their weight with a Championship adversary.
First Premier League-chasing Norwich, albeit a weakened Canaries side, were dispatched on their own patch.
That was followed by a Rangers team with just two changes from their last league outing against Preston, being asked questions aplenty in a fast-paced fourth-round tie.
In truth, for all the bluster, there wasn't much in the first 45 minutes which the visitors edged.
Pompey picked up the pace after the break, however, and forced the R's on to the back foot.
With designs on reaching the Championship, Jackett's young side have once again proved they can more than hold their own against second-tier opposition in one-off games.
For nine second-half minutes the upset was on.
Pompey made the most of their second-half pressure to deliver a tangible advantage via the boot of defender Joel Lynch, after he turned Lee Brown's cross past his own keeper.
It asked serious questions of a QPR side with obvious quality, particularly across the middle of the park.
Despite their standing in the higher echelons of the game, Rangers have a horrific FA Cup record - failing to make the fifth round since Trevor Sinclair's famous overhead kick against Barnsley in 1997.
With Steve McClaren failing to beat Pompey as a manager, the visitors would have been fearing the worst after falling behind.
A failure to deal with Luke Freeman's corner let the R’s back into it, however, with the Blues failing to take the chances to clear before Nahki Wells fired home from close range.
So a return trip to west London it is, and while Pompey will still believe they can progress, there's little doubt they failed to take their best chance to reach the fifth round.
The challenge from Kenny Jackett is to embrace the swathe of fixtures on the horizon.
But do Pompey currently have the squad to tackle the mounting fixture pile-up?
Saturday's 1-1 draw with QPR marked the first of 10 games in a 36-day period for the Blues.
And that's without factoring in the trip to Southend being moved to mid-week in the event of progressing to the fifth round of the FA Cup.
Jackett has made no bones of the fact his side is now short of attacking options in the face of loan recalls to Andre Green and David Wheeler.
It promises to be a crucial few days up to the close of the transfer window at 11pm on Thursday.
After being knocked off top spot in League One after nearly four months with eyes on knockout action at the weekend, it promises to be a critical period on and off the pitch before next week's replay at Loftus Road.