Portsmouth moments of quality will be crucial 

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Nathan Thompson believes moments of individual quality will be key to Pompey’s League One promotion push.

Kenny Jackett’s troops have already outlined their early title credentials this season. 

Pompey defender Nathan Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey defender Nathan Thompson. Picture: Joe Pepler

Ahead of today’s Gillingham visit to Fratton Park, the Blues topped the table by three points following Tuesday night's 1-0 victory over Coventry.

It was Ronan Curtis who inspired Pompey’s triumph at the Ricoh Arena, producing a piece of brilliance to net the only goal of the game in first-half stoppage-time.

It was a superb strike from the Irishman and ensured his side returned to the south coast with an eighth victory of the campaign in tact. 

Thompson admits the Blues are going to find it difficult to break teams down at times this term.

But he feels his Pompey team-mates have the class to conjure up solo pieces of magic when that’s the case.

The right-back said: ‘Throughout the season you’re going to need a bit of quality.

‘I go back to Jamal’s goal against Oxford. He cuts in from the left and puts it into the top corner.

You always need that bit of inspiration and it was the same for Ronan’s against Coventry.

‘Brett set him up nicely and he put it in from the corner of the box.

‘There are times when teams will be tough to break down and you really on that quality – and we’ve got that in abundance.

‘You even look at the bench. There’s the likes of Dave Wheeler and Joe Mason who have got Championship experience and not getting into the team.

‘That can only benefit the side.’

Thompson pinpointed Pompey's penchant for scoring goals after half-time.

Gareth Evans struck three minutes after the interval against Oxford, while Oli Hawkins made the deadlock on 62 minutes at Peterborough.

The former Swindon skipper believes it’s because of the pace the Blues forwards possess.

‘In the early part of the second half we score a lot of goals during that time,’ he added.

‘It gives you the confidence that if we go into half-time 0-0 we can get the three points.

‘When you have the pace that we have wide, to be chasing Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis on for 60-70 minutes is the last thing you need.

‘From their mindset, it changes slightly and it’s that one moment they switch off we look to exploit.’

Although the attacking-minded players have received the majority of the plaudits, Pompey’s defence has been solid. 

Going in to the Gillingham game, the Blues have conceded just eight goals in 11 games – the second best record in the league. 

Thompson told how Jackett has stressed his side must ship an average of less than a goal a game if they want to clinch promotion.

And the right-back feels it’s crucial Pompey must continue to grind results out when they're not at their best. 

‘The gaffer said we need to be averaging less than a goal a game if we want to achieve anything this season,’ said Thompson. 

‘You can’t be asking your forward men to be scoring two or three goals every game – it’s not possible.

‘You’re going to get games like Coventry where you have to grind them out.

‘You look at Wigan and Blackburn last season.

‘They did that consistently and managed to achieve their goal of promotion.’