Matt Clarke: What Pompey need to do to clinch promotion
MATT CLARKE believes Pompey must go on a lengthy unbeaten runÂ if they're to clinch promotion into the Championship this season.Â
The cultured centre-backÂ insists a play-off spot at least is the Blues' aim '“ and cutting down the number of defeats they suffer will be key.
Kenny Jackett's troops finished eighth in their first campaign back in League One last term.
That represented a decent effort, with consolidation in the third tier the targetÂ at the beginning.
Their promotion challenge only came to an endÂ after losing 1-0 atÂ Bury in the penultimate fixture of the campaign.
Overall, Jackett's men lost 20 matches in total, with their longest unbeaten streak in the league coming to just three games.
Clarke knows that's a statistic that must significantly improve this term.
And he reckons reaching double figures without a reverse will put Pompey in a strong position to fulfil their ChampionshipÂ aspirations.
'˜We finished where we deserved to finish last season,' Clarke said.
'We weren't at the heightsÂ to get into the play-offs and get promoted. But hopefully this season, with new additions, more experienceÂ and another year understanding the gaffer's way of playing, then this year will be different.
'Last season finishing in the top 10 was what people said would be a good season. But this season we're not going to make any bones about it '“Â we want to be in the play-offs.
'We'll win as many games as we can and hopefully lose fewer games than last year. That was probably where we fellÂ short last season.
'We lost a lot of games and wantÂ to be more solid and resolute. We want to go 10-15 games unbeaten '“Â that's theÂ aim.'Â
With Wigan andÂ Blackburn no longer in League One '“Â and with relegated Sunderland not splashing the cash '“Â some sections of the Fratton faithful reckon the division could be easier to get out of this time around.
But Clarke has refused to buy into that theory.
The ex-Ipswich man said: 'You can never look at the league and say we have a chance or we don't have a chance. All you have got to do is beat what teams are put in front of you.
'˜All we can dictate is our ownÂ performances on a Saturday and a Tuesday.'