IT’S BACKING this term which has left Kenny Jackett humbled.
And it will provide all the motivation his players will need as Pompey’s season on the road comes to a close at Bury.
The number of fans who have followed the Blues on their travels will break through the 38,000 barrier at Gigg Lane.
A total of 1,538 tickets have been sold so far, as supporters make the 500-mile round-trip to Lancashire to sign off the away campaign.
After visiting the Isle of Wight Supporters’ Club this week, Jackett heard first hand the lengths some fans are going to in an effort to back his team.
That made its mark on the Pompey boss, who explained it’s a commitment he and his team wants to repay – even if the game looks to be meaningless.
Jackett said: ‘We certainly owe the supporters – and what we owe them is a performance.
‘We owe them commitment and quality. Commitment on its own is not enough. Quality on its own is not enough. It has to be both.
‘I was at the Isle of Wight Supporters’ Club dinner this week. There were guys there who told me they are hiring a mini-bus and are leaving at 6am to get Bury.
‘That’s fantastic, really. Fantastic commitment.
‘As a manager, you do want to reward that because it’s important to do so.
‘It’s vital we encourage our supporters, recognise them and we have to work hard for them as employees of the club.
‘When you look at the prices in the service stations, it shows you how popular football is.
‘It’s a big commitment and we certainly appreciate it.
‘As a manager it makes me very humble.’
Jackett explained the backing of the Pompey support is something he continually references with his players – and is a resource which will need to be tapped into to make next season a success.
He added: ‘We’re a terrifically-supported club.
‘Our supporters turn up wanting to get behind the team, which is great.
‘They latch on to any optimism. They latch on to good play, tackles, forward play, good passing, enthusiasm and certainly shots, crosses and goals. They do that and they’re off and running.
‘It’s an asset to have. It’s a big asset for the club.
‘For myself and the players, it’s always something we talk about. To be successful and successful in the future we have to realise their potential.’
– JORDAN CROSS