KENNY JACKETT has urged his troops to stoke up the Fratton roar and reap the rewards.
Pompey are heading towards their biggest crowd of the season with tomorrow’s visit of Bradford.
We have to earn that, though, we are not a club that can just expect it to happen, we have to earn that. We have to work hard enough to earn the crowd’s respect and the crowd’s backingKenny Jackett
The third-placed Bantams are anticipating being accompanied to the south coast by around 1,000 supporters, with the majority of the home ends selling out earlier this week.
The fixture is on target to surpass the season’s opener against Rochdale, which attracted 18,009 to witness a 2-0 Blues triumph.
Tomorrow represents a welcome return to Fratton Park for Jackett’s men, following successive defeats and consecutive poor displays on their travels.
And he has called on his team to utilise the Fratton faithful’s backing in pursuit of a return to winning ways.
Jackett said: ‘Bradford got to the play-off final last year and again will be chasing one of those three promotion spots on the evidence so far.
‘This is a good barometer and a good yardstick for us, a game I am looking forward to.
‘I’m sure it will be full of energy and atmosphere and, while that is a great platform and stage for us to play on, we are determined to put on a really good show for our supporters.
‘The atmosphere at Fratton park has been fantastic this season, the crowd have always got right behind us and that has been a good thing.
‘Any time we can capitalise on that we must because it’s a situation where it can be a big advantage.
‘We have to earn that, though, we are not a club that can just expect it to happen, we have to earn that. We have to work hard enough to earn the crowd’s respect and the crowd’s backing.
‘They can stay exactly as they have been so far, which is very loud and very supportive all the way through the game.
‘And they will only be like that if we take the responsibility, we lead and we perform – which we are capable of.’
Yesterday, Pompey released an additional 500 seats in the Milton End to the home faithful. That was a result of Bradford intimating they would not be taking up their full allocation.
Nonetheless, the visiting fans will surpass this season’s previous high of 782 set by Bristol Rovers supporters in September.
Pompey currently average 17,527 for league home fixtures – a tally only beaten by the Bantams (20,188).
Meanwhile on the pitch, the Blues require a morale-boosting performance after disappointments at Doncaster and Blackburn.
And the search for winning consistency continues.
‘There have been some good home performances and one or two away, but on our travels not as many as we would have liked,’ added Jackett.
‘To close that gap to the top we need that consistency.
‘We have drawn very few games, but gone into games to win. That has to be the case because we are a club that wants to do well and impose itself on the division.’