Jackett’s warning to Portsmouth with Barnsley and Sunderland games on horizon

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Kenny Jackett insists Pompey can’t afford to take their foot of the gas in pursuit of the League One title.

The Blues are four points clear of second-placed Sunderland and start a run of four key fixtures before Christmas at home to Southend tomorrow.

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Sean Ryan

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Sean Ryan

Jackett's troops face successive games at Fratton Park against The Shrimpers and then Charlton on Tuesday.

Both come prior to what will turn out to be crucial back-to-back clashes against fellow promotion challengers Barnsley and Sunderland.

But Jackett has warned his players not to look any further than the challenge Chris Powell's side will pose.

Southend sit 14th in the table and have won on two of their previous three visits to Fratton Park.

The Blues boss admits the consistent level shown so far must be maintained in the coming weeks.

Jackett said: ‘There is no way that we’ll be underestimating any side.

‘Southend are a team that have not conceded too many goals, but they’ve not scored too many either.

‘They’ve got some very good players and some very dangerous players as well.

‘The most crucial game is always your next game.

‘Southend is not any more or less important than let’s say Sunderland or Barnsley.

‘Those games perhaps whet the appetite because of the atmosphere and things like that - they’re big games and ones to look forward to.

‘Realistically, if there’s a low-key game against a team in and around the bottom of the league it’s just as important to me because the rewards are just the same.

‘There then has to be a degree of consistency.’

Jackett revealed the key behind Pompey’s storming start to this season has been approaching every match with the same mentality.

And the Blues boss wants that to remain the same moving forward.

‘It’s important to be foot to the floor and flat out all the time,’ Jackett said.

‘The games to come do whet the appetite, definitely, and they are games to look forward to and enjoy.

‘They are big atmosphere games, I do understand that.

‘But in the context of where we’re going and where we’re trying to get to, one doesn’t become any important than the other.

‘We’ve tried to be consistent in every game and will keep trying to do that.’