Catlin: Pompey outperforming – but we must be calm

Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin Picture: Joe Pepler
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By Mark Catlin’s admission, Pompey are ‘outperforming’ expectations.

Residing in sixth spot, occupying the play-off positions, League One makes encouraging reading beyond the halfway mark.

By being halfway through the season and in the play-offs, you have to say we are now a candidate for the play-offs – you would be silly not to

Mark Catlin

Club pre-season prophecies centred on stability and consolidation. A mid-table finish offered a prized outcome upon a long-awaited return to this level.

What has so far unfolded under manager Kenny Jackett has been a ramping up of optimism, with the Blues entering 2018 in the play-off spots.

It’s heartening progress which has taken many by surprise.

Nonetheless, chief executive Catlin has stressed the importance of not cranking up the pressure on manager and players as a consequence.

He said: ‘I was watching Football on 5 on Saturday when they were singing the praises of Pompey and our current form.

‘They said Kenny’s last four full seasons in League One had either resulted in the play-offs or promotion, which is an amazing stat.

‘When you have someone of the quality of Kenny, this amazing support we continue to receive and the quality of these players, then we shouldn’t really be surprised.

‘We are really outperforming in our first season back in League One compared to what the expectations were.

‘By being halfway through the season and in the play-offs, you have to say we are now a candidate for the play-offs – you would be silly not to.

‘However, we shouldn’t start now exerting extra pressure on anyone at the club.

‘Our target this year was to be competitive, to fight in the top half of the table, we are doing that.

‘We shouldn’t be changing objectives during the season, that’s foolhardy, so let’s see where it ends.

‘What is important is we keep our feet on the floor, keep plodding away, going about our business as we do.

‘If we lose a game it’s not the end of the world and if we win four on the trot we are not suddenly going to be champions.

‘Let’s keep a level head and see where we are in the middle of May.’

Pompey finished the year 2017 with an outstanding return of 20 Fratton Park victories in all competitions.

It reflected the excellent work begun by Paul Cook and then built on by summer replacement Jackett.

And Catlin has also pinpointed the importance of the club’s infrastructure which has allowed successive managers to flourish.

He added: ‘I think we genuinely have a really, really great manager here and previously it was the same with Paul.

‘They are two very, very good managers operating within what I consider to be a great infrastructure at the club.

‘There is a great support mechanism off the pitch in regards of the training ground, our academy, etc, so there’s a lot of strength behind the scenes.

‘The opening two years of fan ownership were about getting that infrastructure right and now we have. We’ve laid solid foundations and keep consistently building on them.

‘A combination of things during the first couple of years have got us here. Now I see us bearing the fruits.’