Jackett: Onus on Pompey to excite Fratton again

Pompey manager Kenny Jackett
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett
Ben Close. Picture: Joe Pepler

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POMPEY have to seize the responsibility of exciting Fratton Park again.

The Blues are out to end their winless year at home to date, when they face Oxford United in front of the Sky cameras on Sunday.

It’s just two points from their past six outings at PO4 in 2018, in what’s been miserable form on their own patch.

It’s also three home losses on the bounce since picking up a point against Doncaster at the start of last month.

That’s been the crucial factor in hopes of making the play-offs stalling, although it’s still a relatively short five-point gap to the top six at present.

Jackett knows the onus is on the players to excite the home crowd and return to the powerful home form of earlier in the season.

He said: ‘From our point of view, nine points out of 12 in the last four away games is a good return.

‘But, similarly, it’s one point out of 12 at home. That’s disappointing.

‘Even six or seven points. Think how that would’ve helped us?

‘Traditionally, it’s harder to earn points away from home. So, yes, we do need to perform well.

‘Sunday will probably be a bumper crowd with a good atmosphere.

‘With us still being in with a shout there will be a good degree of optimism there.

‘They will be looking to get behind their team at the start of the game.

‘Then it’s up to us. That’s what I feel.

‘Fans, all fans, react to what they see on the pitch.

‘It’s up to us and our responsibility to take that responsibility.

‘If things don’t go particularly well they will react off what they see. So that’s our responsibility and the position we’re in.

‘For us, anyway, it’ll be a great crowd and a chance and opportunity to get a fantastic atmosphere there.

‘That can only help us win on Sunday, but also be positive and successful in the future.’

The powerful form through November and December now seems a distant memory, after Pompey won six games on the bounce at Fratton Park up to the turn of the year.

With Nathan Thompson and Gareth Evans coming back into the equation, Jackett’s options are slowly being bolstered.

That does lift hopes of an improvement in form over the final nine games.

Jackett knows Pompey fans will get behind their side – but it’s up to the players to give them cause for optimism.

He added: ‘They come to get behind their team and see them do well. That’s what they want to see.

‘They react to what they see on the pitch, which is why we’re in the position we’re in.

‘It’s our responsibility. We accept that.

‘We have a crowd who want to get behind a good team and a successful and winning team. For us, on Sunday that will be the case again.

‘With nine games left we need a better points return.

‘We have to see Sunday as an opportunity, because that’s exactly what it is.

‘There will be a bumper game and we need to get them behind us.’