Plymouth showdown not '˜season defining' for Pompey
Joe Gallen played down the significance of Pompey's Home Park showdown and insisted: It won't be season defining.
The in-form Blues head to Plymouth tomorrow seeking to topple their play-off adversaries to force a way into the top six.
Derek Adams’ side currently stand one point and two places ahead as they prepare for another intense occasion between two clubs who have developed a strong rivalry in recent times.
With five matches remaining, Pompey have to face fellow play-off challengers Charlton, Peterborough and, of course, the Pilgrims.
It is that run-in which convinces Gallen qualification does not rely on tomorrow’s encounter.
Although with 13 points from a possible 15 recently, Kenny Jackett’s men head to Plymouth seeking an important victory.
Assistant boss Gallen said: ‘Just the situation means the next game is the biggest one.
‘If we managed to play well in this one and get something then it will be another big game after that.
‘It’s the next game that counts. It is a big game at Plymouth, without doubt, but it is not a defining one either.
‘We want to go there, play well and pick up some points. We won’t be going down there to get a draw or anything like that, we will be looking to try to win a game.
‘It is feasible we lose and win the next four – and that will probably be enough to reach the play-offs.
‘Everyone is playing each other. If you look at the fixtures, we are all basically playing each other most weeks so that will take care of itself.
‘Plymouth’s the next game, the most important one, but there will then be the next one.
‘We’ve only got a couple of home games left in the league and, put it this way, if we are in a good position next week against Charlton at home then it is going to be fantastic.’
Plymouth themselves are basking in outstanding form, winning nine and drawing one of their past 11 fixtures.
When the sides last met, Kal Naismith condemned the Pilgrims to a 1-0 Fratton Park defeat in November. It left Adams’ men rooted to the foot of League One.
However, just two defeats since December 2 have enabled them to be catapulted up the table to fifth.
Yet Gallen is seeking the return of that Wigan magic to inspire the Blues to victory.
He added: ‘That Wigan atmosphere was amazing, absolutely amazing.
‘It’s the players’ performances which get fans on their feet – we need to replicate that performance.
‘Wigan has to be the benchmark for all our team, not only in terms of being on the ball and passing, but the running, the hunger and attitude, and the togetherness.
‘The whole team effort on that day is a benchmark.
‘Can we replicate that at Plymouth on Saturday? Can we reach those running stats and passing stats and look as together as we did on that night?
‘Plymouth are a good side and the manager has done an excellent job, he really has.
‘But we need to put in a good one at Home Park tomorrow.’