KENNY JACKETT has addressed his players and spelt out his demands for the rest of the season.
And the Pompey boss has stressed the need to get supporters on side as the team search for momentum over the campaign’s finale.
Jackett afforded his players a weekend off after the postponement of last Saturday’s trip to Bradford.
But they are now in the midst of an intense week of preparations for the visit of Gillingham this weekend.
Jackett has made it clear to his men they can’t afford to look back with regret on the season when the summer arrives.
He said: ‘I’ve spoken to the players.
‘We’ve had a weekend off because of the weather. Now, for me, we have to believe we can win consecutive games.
‘I’ve said to the players you have to keep believing.
‘We have to find a way of doing that and be better than we were against Blackpool, definitely. That’s a fact.
‘We have a free week to work on a process to improve, help our players to gain confidence and then make sure we get the supporters behind us to build momentum we need.
‘It’s a big 11 games. It’s a big two months.
‘My message to the players has been to not let the season peter out.
‘I’m looking for a big last two months. We know that and we have a good free week with the players fresh.
‘So a good, hard week on the training ground is what’s needed. A hard, physical week.
‘We need to challenge the players, take that into Saturday and hit the ground running when 3pm comes around.’
After the Blackpool low last time out, Jackett knows his side have to rise to the challenge of winning the belief of supporters as they return to Fratton Park this weekend.
He added: ‘We do know we have a great crowd who are desperate to get behind us.
‘So, in that first half an hour, if they see a side playing well they can get right behind the side – and that can be invaluable.
‘We want momentum and momentum quickly, but we have to be honest to say we need to improve to do that.
‘We have a young, enthusiastic group. We want to give the opposition problems right from the start. Hopefully, we can then sustain that.
‘They have to identify to themselves what they have to do to be a force in this division. We are desperate for them to do that over the last two months of the season.
‘It (winning the crowd’s backing) is a responsibility we want and we’ve talked about.
‘There aren’t excuses. We have a good crowd and a big crowd. It’s something which can go. If we win one then two, people start talking very quickly.
‘It needs to be a quick start and sustainable performance where we keep morale high and give our opponents problems. We’ve got to make sure we’ve got a product which encourages them to get behind us.’