Jackett: Pompey players must realise chance they’ve got

Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

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KENNY JACKETT told his Pompey troops: Seize this opportunity.

The Blues boss has addressed his players this week at the start of a crucial six-game period which will decide their League One destiny.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett’s men begin that period with their fate in their own hands off the back of four wins on the bounce.

The 56-year-old feels it’s crucial his players understand the size of the opening which has been presented to them.

The Pompey manager has made it clear the task is now to embrace what lies ahead and not look back with any regrets at the end of the campaign.

That means not reflecting too much on their recent success and attacking what lies on the horizon.

Jackett said: ‘Quite rightly the players have had some pats on the back.

‘But they now need to forget all that and look ahead.

‘My message this week has been forget all that and make sure you look forward with some hunger and determination.

‘We need to recognise the chance and opportunity we have.

‘After that, we need to do everything we can to continue the very good run we’re on.

‘It’s been very much “continue” and very much “look forward”.

‘It usually is anyway – I don’t dwell on games.

‘You have to pick out good things and bad things.

‘You can’t not look back and learn but similarly the most important game in football is the next one.’

There has been a vibrant mood around the Pompey camp this week as they prepare to take on Rochdale today (3pm).

Jackett feels it’s important to maintain the feelgood factor which has developed as players have returned to the fray and the wins have been picked up.

The fact plenty of the teams pushing for the play-offs still have to face each other is set to be a key factor in deciding which sides finish in the top six.

Pompey still have to go to Plymouth and Bradford, while Charlton and Peterborough are yet to visit Fratton Park.

Again, Jackett views those games as head-to-head showdowns his players should be relishing.

He detects a buzz around his squad when looking at what is still to come.

The Pompey boss added: ‘The good thing is we are looking ahead.

‘We’re now looking ahead with our season still to be decided. I think that’s exciting.

‘At some stage when the race is run you’ll look back and see what you can learn.

‘At the moment, though, it’s looking forward. That’s always the best way.

‘We have six games left and there’s some direct competitors to play.

‘We should be excited by that and capitalise on it.

‘We shouldn’t underestimate it but can’t rest back on what we’ve achieved.’