KENNY JACKETT backed his Pompey young guns to go toe-to-toe with Scunthorpe.
The Blues manager believes his youthful side can respond to the challenge of teams who will attempt to bully them this season.
Tomorrow, Pompey face a testing lengthy trip to Glanford Park to take on an outfit who have established themselves as a League One power.
The Iron have conceded three goals in their eight league fixtures to date, scoring nine times along the way.
Jackett knows the size of the test his youngsters face – but feels they have to show they can answer any physical questions posed.
The manager said: ‘We have to be energetic and enthusiastic.
‘We’ve worked hard this week. I’ve seen a lift in the energy and the amount of chances being created.
‘There’s good enthusiasm here and we have to take that into the game. We want to make sure we’re resilient and we can last in games.
‘We’ll respect Scunthorpe but we can’t be frightened of any team. We need to be competing in this league and meeting everyone head to head if we can.
‘We want to be a force ourselves and everyone else to worry about us. That’s where we want to get to.
‘We’ve had some energy and ability to create chances.
‘We’ve had some ability to go past people one on one and cause people problems.
‘Scunthorpe are an established team in this division and had a good year last year.
‘It’s slightly different to Fleetwood. Fleetwood maybe have a lot of flair, whereas Scunthorpe have been in tight games and not given many goals away.
‘They are very hard to beat. So it’s different tests, but the consistency has to stay in your own team and what you’re trying to do.’
Jackett’s starting XI in the win over Fleetwood had an average age of just 23, as he invokes a clear policy of favouring youth over experience.
But the Blues boss feels their relative inexperience doesn’t afford them leeway in the responsibilities which come for representing the club.
‘To go forward you’d want people on the upward curve rather than downward curve,’ added Jackett.
‘The opposite side to that is you’d always want some experience. So there’s a combination of the two. You can go too far one way or the other.
‘It’s a balance but I like players on the upward curve with hunger and enthusiasm. I like attitude. They are things I value.
‘Sometimes that can be quite young and maybe you do need the odd bit of experience.
‘But I do like to feel there is improvement in players from one game to the next.
‘To play for Portsmouth, it’s a big club with a lot of responsibility on it.
‘You have to deliver. At big clubs you have to deliver.
‘We all want to be at these clubs. We have to embrace it and live with that pressure.’