PAUL COOK insisted Pompey can land a killer blow and win the psychological battle against promotion-rivals Stevenage today (3pm).
To do so, the Blues boss stressed he’ll take his side to the Lamex Stadium with the sole intention of winning.
If you can win the game on Saturday the physiological damage that it will do to Stevenage in relation to the automatics is huge.Paul Cook
Pompey have hit a rich vein of form since they suffered a home defeat to Crewe at the start of the month.
Three straight victories against Crawley, Colchester and Grimsby reinforced their promotion credentials and moved the Blues move up to third in the League Two table.
Today, Cook & Co travel to a Stevenage side who sit sixth in the table and have serious promotion ambitions themselves.
Darren Sarll’s men racked up four straight wins prior to their loss at Blackpool in midweek and go into today’s game with eight victories from their past 10 games.
Cook still sees Boro as a genuine threat to their automatic promotion hopes.
But he knows Pompey have the capability to shatter their dreams.
‘I’m not going to wax lyrical about them,’ said Cook.
‘I’m not going to be overly complimentary and I’m not going to do the opposite.
‘Stevenage’s league position speaks volumes about what they’re doing as a club.
‘Darren has put together a fantastic team, they are having a fantastic season and have a very realistic chance of going up automatically.
‘We will get out of the game what we get.
‘We are very focused on trying to win the game.
‘If you can win today, the pyschological damage that it will do to Stevenage in relation to the automatics is huge.’
The Blues have been left frustrated on their own patch several times this term, with opposition teams often arriving at Fratton Park content to play for a draw.
Cook could adopt the same tactics at the Lamex Stadium, knowing that a point at a promotion rival could be crucial come the end of the season.
But the Pompey boss has vowed he will travel to Boro with only victory in mind.
‘That’s the only way we can approach the game,’ the 49-year-old added.
‘We have got to go there with a mentality to win the game, and if that comes to fruition then we’ll all be in a good place.
‘If it doesn’t and we get beat, which can happen, we’ll shake hands and move on to the next game.
‘Without a shadow of a doubt we’re not going there for a draw – we haven’t gone anywhere for a draw.
‘I think there’s still a real threat out there and if we get complacent and drop points we will get found out.
‘We have got to believe someone will put a stronger run together other than us.
‘For us to do that, we will play with a little bit of fear and I think if you play with a bit of fear it is good.
‘I think our team operates best with a bit of fear.’