Portsmouth ‘big ask’ remains on track after challenge from boss Kenny Jackett

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Kenny Jackett’s ‘big ask’ remains on track following a timely Bescot Stadium triumph.

Pompey’s boss had challenged his side to win up to nine of their remaining 10 League One games to stand a chance of automatic promotion.

Pompey got the win against Walsall

Pompey got the win against Walsall

Subsequently, the Blues succeeded in their first test, winning 3-2 at Walsall last night.

Recalled trio Brett Pirman, Omar Bogle and Viv Solomon-Otabor were all on the scoresheet against the Saddlers in a fully-deserved victory.

Meanwhile, in a full round of League One fixtures, Pompey reduced the gap behind the automatic promotion spots by two points.

Following Barnsley and Sunderland sharing a goalless draw, they now stand six points behind the Tykes, albeit still being a daunting figure.

And Jackett acknowledged an encouraging evening for Blues followers..

He said: ‘It’s a big ask to do it, but we have to target that.

‘The gap is down to six points now, we must keep working on it, keep the pressure on and, if we can get a run together, see where it takes us.

‘We have to keep believing and looking for the right combination of players to be effective for us - but also be respectful.

‘It’s a hard league, Walsall are battling for their lives, you could see that at the end of the match with the crowd and the passion of their players.

‘It’s not easy to win games, sometimes there’s fine margins.

‘If you look at us chasing the top two, obviously we are going to need a high points total out of 30 available before the match, that’s a definite.

‘We’ve won one, now we’re looking at needing seven or eight more – then perhaps other people will slip up.’

Pompey have now extended their play-off presence to a comforting 13 points ahead of seventh place.

That is following seventh-placed Peterborough’s defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

Fellow play-off rivals Charlton beat Burton, while Doncaster collected a draw at Blackpool.

Meanwhile, Luton extended their lead at the League One summit to five points, following a 1-0 triumph at Bradford.

With nine matches remaining and 27 points at stake, Jackett still harbours hope.

He added: ‘You can do it, we are a big club and you can get momentum.

‘Saturday against Scunthorpe will be a great crowd now, a good atmosphere, and we can see if we can build that momentum now.’