Jackett: Pompey can bridge the gap

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey chief executive Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kenny Jackett insists there’s enough time for Pompey to clinch a League One play-off spot.

The Blues sit two points off the top six heading into today’s clash against Blackpool at Fratton Park (3pm).

With 12 games left this season, it’s crucial Pompey build on their midweek victory at Fleetwood – only their second of 2018.

Jackett knows his side must put together a string of wins to achieve their play-off ambitions.

But he is convinced it is possible, after achieving a similar feat during his managerial career at Swansea.

When in charge of the Swans, Jackett’s side bridged a 10-point gap in February to achieve the final League Two promotion spot in 2005.

The Blues boss said: ‘If you’re looking at the gap, I’ve made 10 points from February before, which you can do.

‘We actually did it on the last day of the season at Swansea.

‘Generally, after that, you get into March and you’re running out of runway a little bit.

‘But if you pause the whole thing there, is it there for Portsmouth? It is, yes.

‘The most important thing is we put the run together and I put a team together that looks likely to be able to get on that run.

‘Things can change quickly in football if you get the right combinations and a bit of luck where you can.

‘If you do find it, then we are definitely within touching distance.’

The average number of points collected by teams who have finished sixth in League One over the past decade is 76.

And if the previous 10 years are anything to go by, it means Pompey will need to amass a further 27 points from their remaining 12 fixtures.

That’s an average of 2.25 per game, which leaves little margin for error.

But Jackett’s job has been made harder with injuries and suspension taking its toll on his team in recent weeks.

Hamstring victims Brett Pitman and Gareth Evans have joined Danny Rose (broken leg) and Stuart O’Keefe (groin) in the treatment room and could be out for a further two weeks.

Meanwhile, Nathan Thomspon will serve the second match of a four-game suspension against Blackpool today.

That’s meant a lot of chopping and changing to Pompey’s starting XI.

Jackett believes finding the right combinations will be key to reaching the Blues’ play-off goal.

‘You can see in League One and League Two that confidence comes and goes within a player even within one game,’ added the manager.

‘A mistake, a goal or a game the other way and the crowd lifts you and you’re on that run.

‘That’s the beauty of it and finding that right combination and then getting on that run is within touching distance for Portsmouth.

‘For me, we have to put a side together that will really take it to the division and be able to take whatever challenge will come our way.’