Jackett: It's now or never for Pompey

Kenny Jackett eyed up a crucial clash with Gillingham and insisted: Our play-off push must now begin.

Friday, 9th March 2018, 5:00 am
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey have 11 remaining matches to reap the 26 points their boss believes will earn them a play-off spot.

That season-defining period kicks off tomorrow with the visit of 12th-placed Gillingham to PO4.

Under Steve Lovell, the Gills have rallied remarkably, surging from the relegation zone to within three points of the Blues.

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Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett is under no illusions of the importance of the Fratton Park encounter to his own promotion aspirations.

And while he is adamant the play-offs remain a realistic target, he concedes that stirring run has to begin this weekend.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘All games are important, but to get up into the mid-70s points-wise we need to win seven or eight on a high number of consecutive games.

‘You can do it, you can win consecutive games, particularly at a club like this where you need a really good performance to spark it off.

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘As you start creeping on, the momentum will build up very quickly with the crowd and that is an advantage we have.

‘But in terms of games, we have 11 remaining, so the longer it (winless run) goes on, obviously the harder it is to get it.

‘The run has to be there, we know that.

‘If we have aspirations of doing it, of course we need to be putting that type of run together and looking like we have that type of form about us, which is important.

‘We won nine out of 11 games earlier this season – and we need that type of run again to get over other people in the table.’

From November 7 until December 30, the Blues embarked on a tremendous run to ignite hopes of reaching the play-offs.

During that period they surged from 11th in League One to the play-off spots in sixth, collecting six clean sheets in the process.

However, it is now two victories in 2018 for Pompey, who currently reside in 11th place.

Meanwhile, Gillingham have enjoyed a resurgence, losing just two of their past 13 games in all competitions.

That consists of defeat at high-flying Wigan – and last weekend’s a 2-1 loss at Bury.

Jackett added: ‘Gillingham have done very well, but recently have had a number of injuries.

‘They lost at Bury last Saturday, but before that have done very well to pull well clear of the relegation zone.

‘Like Plymouth and Doncaster, they have found their form during the latter stages of the season.

‘Like all teams, you must respect them.

‘You read about players and teams coming to Fratton Park and how it’s something they are looking forward to – but we have to see that as an advantage for us.

‘This is a great club to be at and a great place to play. We have to embrace it and thrive on it, while also enjoying it.’