Knight: Another big Plymouth occasion – but pressure’s off Pompey this time

Alan Knight was impressed by Brett Pitman's first goal at Rochdale. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com
Alan Knight was impressed by Brett Pitman's first goal at Rochdale. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com
Former Pompey favourite Enda Stevens. Picture: Joe Pepler

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It’s a big game against Plymouth this weekend – as they always seem to be.

But it’s an occasion we go into with the pressure off compared to matches in previous seasons.

Well, there’s always pressure there, but I’d say it’s different kind of pressure this time around.

In terms of the play-offs this campaign, it would not be the end of the world if we didn’t make it.

We’re not in that place where it’s win at all costs which brings the potential to make things nervy with it.

Of course, everyone is going to want to make it to the play-offs this season. But we’ve punched above our weight to be on the periphery of the top six at this stage.

With five games to go the mood is one of seeing where it takes us, rather than a demand for promotion.

The squad is a lot younger than last season and those players have gained experience this term.

If it doesn’t happen this time, it can be used as a springboard for a promotion challenge next time around.

But the opportunity’s there and, because we’ve still to face Plymouth, Charlton and Peterborough, it’s in our hands.

At this time of season it starts to become about psychology and confidence.

The margins become fine, but it really is all about belief.

We’ve had a bad run, no doubt about it, but the boys have dug in and turned things around. That was the case at Rochdale on Saturday when the boys kept going until the death and picked up a hard-earned point.

I find it hard to understand how Keith Hill’s side have struggled this season.

They’ve had a run in the FA Cup which could’ve distracted them, but they shouldn’t be down there.

Stephen Humphrys up front is a handful and they have good players breaking forward from midfield. They made some defensive lapses and maybe it’s their issue they have to work to score more than they concede.

I did fear we could have a bit of a hangover from beating Wigan and the two quick wins in succession.

We scored what I feel was our goal of the season in Brett Pitman’s opener, though. From the moment Matt Clarke won the ball, it was a brilliant move.

The point keeps the run going and, if we can get a result Saturday, who knows what could happen?