Boxing clever can earn Portsmouth promotion 

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Lee Brown is convinced Pompey are demonstrating an ability to ‘box clever’ which can reap promotion.

A dogged second-half defensive display from Kenny Jackett’s men last night earned a 1-0 success at Coventry.

Pompey defender Lee Brown in action against Coventry. Picture: Philip Oldham

Pompey defender Lee Brown in action against Coventry. Picture: Philip Oldham

Ronan Curtis’ goal in first-half stoppage-time settled the Ricoh Arena contest to extend the Blues’ lead at the top of League One to three points.

It was a slender advantage against Mark Robins’ side which was superbly protected as the visitors registered their fourth clean sheet in 11 league outings.

Summer recruit and left-back Brown has been an ever-present in that highly-effective rearguard.

And he is delighted with his team-mates’ ongoing mindset towards seeing out victories.

Brown said: ‘I think away from home you have to box clever. It’s not always about the pretty football away from home.

‘I think people are starting to realise that now. It’s all right having all the nice football away from home and then losing 1-0, but I would rather box clever.

‘You saw the likes of Shrewsbury do it last season, you see the top teams do it. Away from home that’s how you’ve got to do it.

‘Coventry were in front of their own punters, they are always going to come out here and have their fair share of possession.

‘So just be solid – and we’ve got more than enough in the team to create chances.

‘The players in the team can defend, the back four are very solid. They’re up there as one of the best defences in the league, for me.

‘Away from home sometimes you have to box clever. We’ve got our goal so what do we do? We hit them on the counter, that’s how it’s done. It’s a good base.’

Curtis’ match-winner took his tally to six for the season, tying with Jamal Lowe.

Meanwhile, Brett Pitman has four and Gareth Evans three as the goals are spread throughout the Pompey side.

While defensively Kenny Jackett’s troops were resilient against the Sky Blues, there is also plenty of attacking talent packed into the team.

And Brown believes the forward-thinking players are beginning to trust in the defence’s ability to retain hard-earned goalscoring advantages.

He added: ‘Any promotion team has to be built on a solid foundation. There is no point scoring three goals but you've let in four.

‘They’ve got to have faith that if they score one, we’re going to keep a clean sheet for them.

‘I think they are beginning to trust us at the back, we have a pretty good record so far – and we can always improve.’