Jackett: Pompey used to play-off heat
Kenny Jackett believes Pompey are ready for the heat of a Plymouth play-off battle.
And the Blues boss reckons the fact his men have been operating with the knowledge they’ve had to deliver wins to fuel a late top-six charge could work in their favour at Home Park.
Jackett’s side face the in-form Pilgrims tomorrow off the back four wins and a draw themselves – a run which has left them outside of the play-offs on goal difference.
With five games to go, the season’s set to reach fever pitch in the backyard of Derek Adams’ side but Jackett feels they are circumstances his men are used to.
He said: ‘It’s not been any different in recent Saturdays.
‘We have needed the wins we’ve had. We have needed to win consecutive games and pick up points from anywhere.
‘We’ve had that for four or five games when you look at the league table.
‘People saying it’s must-win or do or die, we’ve needed that type of run anyway otherwise we’d be floating around where Bristol Rovers are.
‘The Bristol Rovers and Bradfords will still be saying they could do it but it looks a tall order. We’d be there with more of an outside chance.
‘So I don’t think this is any different. We’ve been playing crunch games for the last few weeks.
‘Maybe (that is an advantage to his players). It’s no different to what we have known.
‘If you look at Easter weekend, we had two wins quickly which were a big six points.
‘With 10 or 12 games to go we’ve needed that run and you do need to win consecutive matches.’
Pompey are renewing acquaintances with a Plymouth outfit who have become significant rivals over the past couple of seasons.
With the recent turnover of players, Jackett explained that’s not been a topic of discussion among his men, though.
The 56-year-old believes there’s much to respect about the Pilgrims but isn’t putting too much focus on their strengths.
Jackett said: ‘There’s different rivalries for different reasons. Sometimes it’s geographical or sometimes you’ve just been in the same division and been successful.
‘Both clubs are big clubs with good aspirations to try to get into the Championship.
‘There has (been a lot of change at Pompey), so there’s not particularly been talk of a rivalry.
‘We have to respect our opponent and work out where they are strong and what makes them tick. We have to understand and realise that.
‘Then the important thing is to not take the focus off our own game.
‘I’ve done it many times and if you set out to just stop the opposition totally and not play yourself it doesn’t work.
‘A combination of the two is always important. It’s about playing with confidence, enthusiasm, commitment and quality – and encouraging the players to do it your way.’