Leaders show Pompey cash is not always king

Shrewsbury boss Paul Hurst. Picture: Sharon Lucey

They have sprung a surprise to set the early pace in League One.

And Shrewsbury are showing you don’t have to be a third-tier heavy-hitter to fly high, when you can punch well above your weight at this level.

Shrewsbury celebrate a goal. Picture: Sharon Lucey

It’s a message Kenny Jackett and Pompey are hearing loud and clear, as they aim to build momentum this term.

Jackett feels Paul Hurst and his men deserve all the accolades they are receiving for their powerful form.

The Shrews are top of the pile despite a relatively modest budget compared to their rivals.

With Pompey sat in the middle of the financial table with their £3m-plus wage bill it offers them hope for what can be achieved.

It’s a good achievement to be where they are. It shows it’s open and you need to get the right combination of players

Kenny Jackett

Jackett said: ‘Shrewsbury show exactly that (you don’t need the biggest budget).

‘Last weekend was their first defeat. It’s a great record they have so far and credit to them.

‘It shows how open the division is.

‘It’s a good achievement to be where they are.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘It shows it’s open and you need to get the right combination of players. They have that and are pretty good going forward as well.

‘They obviously have a defensive solidity about them which has given them some confidence. It’s given them something to build on.

‘For the players and management there, they’ve done a terrific job so far.’

With more than a third of the season played, Shrewsbury are showing their form is no flash in the pan with the table taking shape.

Jackett said: ‘It’s open and it’s a very good league.

‘You would expect the sides coming down to be strong. You also have the likes of Bradford who were up last year and got to the play-off final.

‘There are some patterns emerging.

‘Charlton, after perhaps a slightly disappointing mid-table season, have found a little bit of a better combination and look stronger.

‘We’re a big club as well, though, and want to be up there competing with the top sides in this division.

‘We want to be talked about in those terms. So we have to work hard to work towards those goals.’

With Pompey five points from the play-offs and the same distance from the bottom three, their position is a fair reflection of their tumultuous form.

Jackett said: ‘The aim is we want to grow into it.

‘The difference is five points off the play-offs and five points off the bottom sides.

‘That’s about where we’ve been so far this season.

‘We want to be better. How are we going to do that?

‘Certainly away from home and certainly defensively we need to be better.

‘We want to be competing at the top.

‘That said, it’s our aim and we don’t expect that. We have to earn every single point, no matter who you are. We realise that.

‘But where are our aspirations and aims? Towards the top end of this league.

‘We all know and I know Portsmouth are capable of that. It’s certainly the reason I came to the club.’

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