One step from seventh heaven

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Matt Clarke leads Pompey out at Fleetwood. Picture: Mark Robinson

Pompey boss believes captaincy can improve Clarke

Pompey's play-off charge can be given a serious boost on Boxing Day.

Steve Cotterill is eyeing the chance to steer the club to their highest league placing of the season – if only for a couple of hours.

With Pompey's match scheduled for 1pm, the Blues can steal a march on their rivals to move into seventh on the fringes of the play-off positions.

And Cotterill believes it could be a significant psychological step for his men.

He said: 'That would be nice for us. It would be our highest position in the table this year.

'It's taken us four months to get there but I do think we're due our rewards.'

As the season hits the halfway stage, Cotterill is delighted the side's efforts have begun to make an impression on the league table.

He said: 'We've worked really hard to get where we are. At the beginning of the season it was to no avail but since then there has been some reward for a lot of hard work.

'It's been a big turn around by the players and they deserve a lot of credit for that because we came into the season threadbare and unfit and that is a recipe for disaster.

'But it's changed around for us now.'

Pompey could rocket up from 15th to seventh with a win, as just two points currently separate 10 clubs in the Championship.