Pompey set survival target

From left: Ian Woan, Steve Cotterill and Guy Whittingham
From left: Ian Woan, Steve Cotterill and Guy Whittingham
Dave Wright. Picture: Colin Farmery

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Pompey have been set a 52-point target to secure their Championship safety.

Blues’ first-team coach Ian Woan believes his team need to collect another 14 points from their remaining 15 games to stay up this season.

A run of seven points from a possible nine has taken some of the pressure off Steve Cotterill’s men going into tonight’s clash with Crystal Palace.

Pompey are now nine points from the bottom three on 38 points and have a game in hand on Sheffield United, who occupy the final drop-zone position.

But they have been warned they can’t afford to take their foot off the gas amid a busy run of games. Woan said: ‘We want to keep driving forward.

‘We have 15 games to go and 45 points up for grabs.

‘We are looking at getting to 52 points, which will probably be the benchmark to be safe.

‘And then we will want to kick on from there.

‘With the quality we have in our side, we can go anywhere we want to go from there over the last 15 games.

‘If we can keep the first XI fit we can do that.

‘We are still a bit low on numbers and quality.

‘We have to get to that 52-point mark as soon as we can, and there will be a few looking over their shoulders after that.

‘Until we get to that 52 we’ll take each game as it comes.

‘We have to inch our way closer to safety because that is what we are all striving for.

‘We want that sooner rather than later, but we aren’t taking for granted where we are now.

‘Nine points might sound a lot but we’ve just taken seven points from nine – and anyone can do that in this league.’

Cotterill has called on his team to up their performance to make it three wins on the bounce.

Saturday’s 1-0 success over Barnsley came despite a largely lacklustre clash where neither side got going.

Cotterill wants his team to improve tonight as they continue on a busy period of games.

The Blues manager has been encouraged by recent results but feels that has to be built on moving forward.

Cotterill said: ‘We want to win but we want to win and put on a performance, too.

‘Saturday wasn’t a good game. I didn’t enjoy it myself.

‘I like us to play well. Performances normally guarantee three points.

‘You want to win in front of your home fans. It’s nice to do it in front of them.

‘We’ve started a bit of a run, but it’s only the start.

‘We’ve got a really busy time ahead of us now.

‘The more points we rack up on the board early, the better it’s going to be for us.’