Table no guide for Pompey over finale

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett: Fourth place now open to Pompey

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Kenny Jackett assessed Pompey’s run-in and promised: There will be plenty of twists and turns yet.

Jackett this week refused to write off the prospect of his side still making it into the play-offs this season.

Former Pompey loanee Eoin Doyle scores for Oldham at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

Former Pompey loanee Eoin Doyle scores for Oldham at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues boss spoke ahead of the meeting with Gillingham of his aims for his team over the remainder of the campaign.

Jackett talked about the need to build for the future and the role a strong finish can have in achieving that.

With the League One narrative reaching a crescendo, the view of the Pompey boss is there will be a lot of surprise results between now and May 5.

Jackett noted how teams aiming for promotion can often wobble around this period as pressure builds.

And sides who have struggled can find their feet when least expected.

Pompey face five teams chasing promotion, two tucked in mid-table and three currently battling relegation in their final 10 games.

Jackett feels the table can’t necessarily be a baromoter, however, when it comes to judging the difficulty of those fixtures.

He said: ‘It’s hard to tell. Quite often you can play the teams at the top and it can be a little bit sticky for them at the moment.

‘Sides at the bottom can have six months where it hasn’t worked out and then they sort themselves out in the second half of the season.

‘They’ve brought the right players in and get a few players back. You look at Oldham now and Eoin Doyle’s suddenly scoring.

‘They beat us earlier in the season when he and Craig Davies looked as good a pairing as any we’ve faced.

‘Then they lost Doyle to injury – he is a loan player anyway – and all of a sudden they are down around the bottom four.

‘But now he’s back and they are getting a run together to get out. Trying to predict results and easier games doesn’t work out.

‘It doesn’t work out in terms of performances, motivation and pressure at different times.

‘Quite often it can be which side you have available and that’s similar for the opponent, too. That’s how it can work.’

Jackett noted how the January transfer window can be a significant factor in changing the dynamic.

That’s been a talking point at Fratton Park with Pompey failing to land a midfield general.

Above all, though, it’s consistency Jackett pinpoints as being the classic hallmark of a promotion contender.

He said: ‘Doing enough to survive and live to fight another day is one thing but to do it you have to do it right the way through.

‘Gillingham have found good form. They lost to Bury but have generally pulled themselves out and will be looking for a big finish,

‘Are you coming out of the window stronger or weaker?

‘Quite often you can come out of window slightly weaker, get two or three injuries and then your team can change.

‘There are peaks and troughs but the key is staying consistent throughout, not just in spells or a spell. That is the key to going up.’