Gaffer: Pressure is on Sunderland to dislodge Portsmouth 

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Gaffer for a day Jack Stokes, aged 26, from Highbury, gives his thoughts on Pompey’s 2-0 victory over Southend.

You said in your pre-match preview Pompey are going to really put a team to the sword soon. It was nearly the case on Saturday?

Pompey beat Southend 2-0. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey beat Southend 2-0. Picture: Joe Pepler

I said that but, to be honest, I’m not even sure that is Kenny Jackett’s way.

He likes Pompey to get goals early and then sit back. I don’t think he likes his team to exhert themselves and risk injury.

I know a lot of people say they’d like to see us go for throat, like teams like Luton do.

But come the end of the season, I don’t think the Blues will have too many fitness-related injuries.

Pompey celebrate their opener against Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey celebrate their opener against Southend. Picture: Joe Pepler

I’m not too sure if we will smash teams 5-0 but I’m confident we can keep doing what we're doing and getting results

Southend had that little spell in the second half but never threatened. Why was that?

Pompey just soaked the pressure up and when we pushed up, we could see their players were getting frustrated.

Last season, teams would come to Fratton Park and throw everything at us.

We’d be touch and go like against Wigan, but this term we seem more resolute and defend very well.

Who was your man of the match?

I’d have to give it to Ronan Curtis.

His balls that he put into the box with both of his feet were brilliant. 

Curtis looks a really, really shrewd signing. A lot of people have said Craig MacGillivray is the unsung hero of it all.

But we paid £100,000 for Curtis and that is ridiculous. He’s got to be worth at least seven figures.

He is getting assists and goals galore and Pompey fans like his attitude.

If we go up we’ll be able to keep the likes of Curtis, Matt Clarke and Jamal Lowe.

If we don’t go up, he won’t be in League One for very long. You’d definitely get a big side to come and snap him up.

He’s not even a risk. He’s still young and is so fast and strong

Who else impressed you?

Jack Whatmough and Matt Clarke are the foundation to why we’re doing so well.

My mate came with me to the game for the first time in about eight years and was impressed with them both.

Whatmough was so strong in the air, while he thought Clarke was about 30! 

They’re so strong and should be worth a lot of money at some point.

Could you have predicted Pompey would be six points clear at this stage before the start of the season?

I don’t think any of us could. We’d have been happy to be in the top three or top five.

The pressure is on Sunderland as they’ve got to win their games in hand.

I still think we’re going to go up automatically, if not as champions.

Jack’s Pompey ratings...

Craig MacGillivray 9

Nathan Thompson 9

Jack Whatmough 8

Matt Clarke 8

Lee Brown 7

Tom Naylor 8

Ben Thompson 8

Jamal Lowe 8

Gareth Evans 7

Ronan Curtis 9

Oli Hawkins 8

READ MORE… Pompey squad must stay focused – they will be needed