CONNOR RONAN has called on Pompey to show bravery to turn around their poor form.
The young Blues loanee admitted his team are showing their inexperience when the going gets tough in games.
And the challenge for them is to avoid panic stations setting in when the heat gets turned up on them.
Kenny Jackett’s side go to Oldham looking to pick up just their third win of 2018 from their 13th game of the year.
Ronan knows his team will need to show greater conviction if that’s to be the case.
He said: ‘When Gillingham adapted to the formation in the second half last week and put the pressure on, we didn’t really know how to cope with it.
‘It’s hard. When you are in a team who’s winning every week you do have more freedom.
‘It’s hard when you’re not playing well and not picking up results to have that freedom.
‘It’s down to us not to look at past results, treat this game on its own and try to get something to build on.
‘If we do start playing with some freedom and forget about past results, I do feel we’ll get those three points.
‘I think that’s our downfall at the minute.
‘When it’s 0-0 or we’re winning, we’re playing good football. But when teams score or things aren’t going our way we panic a bit and panic on the ball.
‘We stop being as brave on the ball. I think we need a bit more bravery on the ball when things aren’t going our way.’
It’s going to be another youthful side being fielded at Boundary Park, despite captain Brett Pitman, 29, coming back into the equation.
Ronan feels that puts an onus on the younger members of Jackett’s side to step up and show leadership qualities.
‘There’s not that many really experienced players,’ added the Irishman.
‘There’s one or two throughout the team, but I think we have to help each other out there and lead each other out there.
‘It’s a bit of a problem for us at the minute, because when things aren’t going our way we haven’t got a team full of veterans to get us going.
‘It’s down to us young lads to do it, and maybe we’re a little bit inexperienced and not used to that. I think it will come, though, and when those three points come I think we’ll be able to build on it.’
Ronan is hopeful the build-up to the game will be smoother than last week, when an injury to Oli Hawkins prompted a late, late change to a 3-5-2 formation.
The on-loan Wolves ace said: ‘Oli got injured on the Friday, so no one knew what they were doing.
‘Pits (Pitman) was injured and so was Gaz (Evans), and there’s players coming back from injury. The team could’ve been anything.
‘It’s not a system we’ve played much, but we adapted well in the first half – but couldn’t keep it going.
‘We were playing off the cuff a bit, but it didn’t work in the second half.
‘We’ve worked a lot on shape this week and it will be a bit different. We have a better idea of what we’re doing. If we start well at Oldham we’ll find it easier to keep it going for 90 minutes.’