Naylor relishing biggest test for new-look Portsmouth

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Tom Naylor is limbering up for Pompey’s ‘big task’ as their promotion credentials come under scrutiny.

Kenny Jackett’s men head to league-leaders Peterborough tomorrow, representing their first crunch encounter of the season.

Tom Naylor celebrates victory over Plymouth with Ben Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Naylor celebrates victory over Plymouth with Ben Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Both sides are undefeated after seven matches, with the Blues two points behind Steve Evans’ League One table-toppers.

At such a formative stage of the campaign, the significance of the London Road outcome may be minor.

Yet Naylor is relishing locking horns with the Posh as both teams strive to build on impressive starts to the season.

The combative midfielder said: ‘Of the league fixtures we’ve had, we’ve won five and drawn two, and it’s a very good start.

‘That’s the way we want to go, we want to get promoted this season.

‘We have a big task tomorrow and everyone is looking forward to that.

‘Peterborough are a big team in this league and if we want to get promoted we have to beat the big teams around us. We must have the right frame of mind to go again.

‘The quality shows week in, week out in training. When I first came here I didn't really know much about the players, but as soon as I stepped through the door I saw the quality right away.

‘I think we can go all the way. We have the team, have the spirit, there is no point being negative and saying “I think the play-offs”.

‘We’re going to push for automatic (promotion).’

Naylor has been a regular for Pompey since recruited from Burton in the summer.

Handed the midfield role he coveted, the 27-year-old has proven a powerful presence, adding steel to the side.

And, as one of 10 summer recruits, he feels the team have gelled quickly to form an increasingly-effective unit.

Naylor added: ‘When you sign new players, it’s very difficult to gel as a team, but I think the new lads have settled in quite well now.

‘The boys have been welcoming and I’m settled and am enjoying my football.

‘As a team, we have a defensive side to it and also score goals. With Jamal Lowe on one wing and Ronan Curtis the other we are good when we attack.

‘And we have a very strong bench. All could play in that first team and that is where the gaffer has headaches with the team selection.’