Burgess: Pompey will attack Shrews test with belief
Christian Burgess believes League One holds no fear for Pompey.
But the Blues defender is keeping his feet on the ground as his side prepare for the biggest challenge to their hurtling form.
Kenny Jackett’s men go to high-flying Shrewsbury Town looking to make it eight wins out of nine as the Christmas programme begins.
Paul Hurst’s side will present a stiff test of Pompey’s credentials after emerging as League One’s surprise package this term.
Victory on the road last time out at Charlton showed they can punch their weight with promotion-chasing sides away from home, however.
Pompey’s form has improved radically off the back of four defeats on the bounce.
Burgess feels a greater understanding is being developed after nine new faces arrived in the summer.
His side go into the Shrewsbury game with only goals scored separating them from a play-off place – their points and goal difference equalling that of Charlton.
Burgess has confidence Pompey can punch their weight with any third-tier side.
But with Hurst’s Shrews team conceding just five goals in 14 league fixtures this season, the 26-year-old knows a stiff challenge lies ahead.
He said: ‘There’s a little bit more confidence in terms of getting the ball down.
‘We know what we’re doing a little bit more. As time’s gone by we know each other a little bit more, too.
‘People can say it’s coming together but we’re not getting too carried away.
‘Charlton still have a game in hand on us and things can change quickly but we can take on any team in this division.
‘There’s no-one out there who’s way out of our league.
‘We got a draw at Wigan who are four points clear at the top.
‘We can definitely do something but it’s going to be a massive challenge.
‘Shrewsbury are a very good outfit with a strong spirit. It shows it’s going to be a tough test.’
Burgess noted how Pompey have evolved their approach under Jackett, following their title-winning success under Paul Cook last term.
The defender feels that’s as a result of a change in philosophy from the teams they face.
Burgess said: ‘Things are a little bit different. There’s a different formation for a start.
‘Perhaps we’re a little more direct as well and perhaps a little more compact.
‘But that comes with going up a league because teams used to put 11 men behind the ball when they played us.
‘That afforded us a lot of space and we had to probe and probe.
‘Now they have two up top and teams aren’t giving us the same respect we got last year.
‘When that’s the case a little bit more of a direct approach can work. That’s how the gaffer likes it.
‘There haven’t been too many heart-in-mouth moments.
‘It’s proved we defend really well as a unit and there are some lads in front of us working incredibly hard at closing down the opposition.’