NATHAN THOMPSON eyed a Wembley appearance and insisted: We’re going for it.
The defender revealed the Checkatrade Trophy is a competition Pompey are taking very seriously after their 2-0 win over Northampton.
The victory at Fratton Park came in front of the lowest recorded attendance on a Saturday in the club’s history, with just 1,780 present.
But goals from Gareth Evans and Stuart O’Keefe ensured Kenny Jackett’s side are now just three wins from a Wembley appearance.
It may be a much-maligned competition with the Blues voicing their opposition to the introduction of Premier League and Championship clubs with Category One academies last year.
It’s a chance to appear at the home of English football for the club, though, and Thompson explained that’s providing the motivation.
The 27-year-old’s previous visit there saw him come off injured after five minutes in Swindon’s 4-0 League One play-off loss to Preston in 2015.
Thompson is looking to make happier memories with a return this season.
He said: ‘It’s becoming more real, absolutely.
‘The gaffer’s team-talk was about the motivation of making it to Wembley.
‘At the start of the competition when you have three games in the group stages it’s slightly more tedious.
‘The crowds and the atmosphere aren’t there, so it can be harder to get going.
‘So it shows character to pick up the wins we did.
‘And it was another competitive performance to pick up the win over Northampton.
‘I’ve been to Wembley before and it hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds.
‘So it would be nice to turn that on its head.
‘Everyone would love to say they’ve played at the national stadium.
‘At the level we play at it’s a huge reward, so we’re certainly encouraged by that and it’s a motivation for every team left in the competition.
‘There’s no-one left in the draw we would be scared of.
‘It’s three steps from Wembley and it’s a great opportunity for a little bit of silverware for us.’
Saturday’s victory made it five wins out of six for Pompey as their upwardly-mobile form continues.
That run began at the end of four successive losses with a defeat of Charlton in the same competition.
Checkatrade victory over Crawley in October sparked two further league wins, with it proving useful to the Blues this term.
Thompson added: ‘Although the crowds aren’t there it’s important we keep the same standards. They probably had one opportunity from the header when Luke (McGee) has made a great save.
‘Before the Charlton game we had four defeats. Since then we’ve won five out of six. It just goes to show it can help turn your fortunes around.
‘It was a professional performance from us and continues our improvement.’