JAYDEN STOCKLEY fired Pompey to the League Two summit and promised: We can handle the pressure.
The Blues loan striker came in from the cold to score the decisive goal in the 2-1 win at Bristol Rovers.
We want that pressure – and have the players to thrive under it.Jayden Stockley
An injury to Adam McGurk in the warm-up paved the way for Stockley to return to the starting line-up and bag the winner at the Memorial Ground.
That sent Paul Cook’s men to the top of the table and equalled the start produced from Harry Redknapp’s title-winning heroes in 2002-03.
It’s also the first time Pompey have topped a division in nine years.
Stockley soaked up that feeling and admitted it’s a confidence booster for his team.
And he believes the players can handle being there to be shot at by the chasing pack.
Stockley said: ‘I’d be a liar if I said it wasn’t a great feeling.
‘It should lift spirits and give us confidence.
‘I’d be a liar if I said we didn’t look at the table.
‘We look at it – and it gives us a great feeling.
‘It will give us confidence going into the next two games.
‘Hopefully we can continue to create chances for everyone and pick up more points.
‘This is what we want and why we worked so hard in pre-season for these moments.
‘We want that pressure – and have the players to thrive under it.’
Stockley bagged his second goal of the campaign to win the game with 19 minutes left.
The 22-year-old smartly completed a flowing move to bag the points.
It was a surprise for Stockley to be involved as he came in at the 11th hour for McGurk.
But he always felt ready to answer Cook’s call.
He said: ‘I went through a lot of feelings.
‘It was unfortunate for Gurks (McGurk) that he got injured.
‘He’s been in form, so hopefully he can come back quickly. We want him back as soon as possible.
‘The gaffer gave me the nod and I went into competitive mode.
‘The week has gone well and I was ready.
‘I knew my job and I was ready to help the team out.
‘It was all in the cross – a brilliant ball from Ben Davies.
‘It was a great move. As a striker it’s my job to get on balls like that. I’m there to be amongst it.
‘My job is to create space, let them thrive and get on the end of those balls.
‘I just want to work hard and hopefully get some recognition for that.
‘It’s the team who profit from the work of every individual. Then hopefully we can then celebrate together.
‘I’ve got a good feeling here. I got the feeling in pre-season, the way the lads were and the spirit.
‘Everything about the club, the fans and the fact everyone is so friendly gave me it.
‘We want to do this for them so badly.’