Clarke: Win can launch Pompey play-off push

Matt Clarke wants to see Pompey's first win of 2018 used as springboard for an end-of-season play-off charge.

Monday, 12th February 2018, 9:00 am
Matt Clarke celebrates netting at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler

The defender marked his 100th Blues appearance with the goal which sparked the come-from-behind victory at MK Dons.

Clarke’s 84th-minute header cancelled out Ike Ugbo’s first-half opener before Conor Chaplin’s late, late winner.

The win was Pompey’s first in seven games this year and closes the gap on the play-offs to three points.

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There are now 15 games left this term in which to secure a top-six place.

And Saturday’s game marks the first of five fixtures in 15 days.

Clarke wants too see a late charge into the play-off positions.

He said: ‘We’re not too far off the play-offs.

‘We want to get up there and the only way to do that is by winning games.

‘Hopefully we can use the result to now get on a few wins.

‘The run was something we didn’t want to continue.

‘As a side it doesn’t feel like the performances have warranted the return.

‘But it’s nice to get the monkey off the back and hopefully it can build some momentum going into the end of the season.

‘There’s been a lot of games when we should’ve won and got a point, or got a point and lost.

‘The form table doesn’t reflect our form generally, but it’s nice to get the win.

‘When the games come thick and fast you want to get on a run.

‘You’re not doing much training in this period, but if things aren’t working at this stage of the season they aren’t really going to work.

‘Hopefully we can pick up a large amount of points in a short space of time.’

Clarke’s goal was his fifth in his Pompey career, making his landmark appearance a memorable afternoon.

The former Ipswich man feels he can increase his threat in attacking positions.

He said: ‘It was nice to get to the 100 – and it was really nice to mark it with the goal.

‘I don’t get that many and it’s an area of my game I want to improve on, but it was nice.

‘I like to think I attack the ball well and we seem to win a lot of corners and free-kicks.

‘The gaffer is always on to us to score more from them and have an input in the goals scored column.

‘I’ve got five in 100, so I’m pleased I got the ratio up in the nick of time!

‘All the lads want to keep the door closed at the back but also add to the goals, too.’

Clarke’s goal sparked scenes of jubilation among the 6,257 travelling fans who made the trip to Stadium MK. They were then in dreamland when Chaplin delivered the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

There’s been little for Pompey fans to cheer about in 2018, so Clarke was delighted he and his team-mates were able to give them something to celebrate.

He said: ‘It’s what they deserve – and it’s what we want to give them.

‘When they travel in those numbers we want to produce for them. It’s no good them travelling like that to watch us get beat. It was nice to reward them.’