Thompson: A must-win for ambitious Portsmouth

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Nathan Thompson has pinpointed Gillingham as a ‘must-win’ occasion to aid the implementation of Fratton Fortress.

The League One table-toppers return to home soil following successive away triumphs during the past week.

Pompey defender Andrew Fosker

Pompey defender Andrew Fosker

It has been more than a month since Plymouth were defeated 3-0 – the last time Pompey triumphed in the league at Fratton.

During that period there have been disappointing south-coast draws with strugglers Shrewsbury and Wycombe.

Regardless, Kenny Jackett’s men are enjoying their best unbeaten start for 57 years, while are positioned three points clear at the top.

Yet Thompson recognises the importance of stepping up their home results to bolster promotion aspirations.

He said: ‘I think this is a must-win.

‘If we are going to achieve anything we have to make this place a fortress. As it is, it’s an intimidating place for people to come, but we need to use that energy the crowd give us into wins.

‘Nine points from those three games would represent a fantastic return.

‘You always find that teams down at the bottom come with a slightly different mindset.

‘Your likes of Peterborough will come here and feel they can take us on and go and beat us. They’ll be spaces on the pitch to exploit.

‘Gillingham will be a different approach, a different set up, but we have to be able to manage that.

‘We have players capable of make something out of nothing very quickly, such as Ronan, so it’s about capitalising on that.

‘I think we have to win on Saturday, that’s the mindset.

‘In fairness, that’s the mindset going into every game at the moment. If you look back at the Peterborough game we felt confident going into it we could pick up three points.

‘That just goes to show what this team is capable of.’

A last-gasp Joe Jacobson penalty thwarted a Blues victory in their most recent Fratton Park outing.

But Thompson has subsequently been impressed by Pompey’s defensive resilience in successive away games.

Thompson added: ‘You give Wycombe a goal quite early on and it gives them something to hang onto.

‘Against Coventry, we snuffed out any real opportunities for them and then they started to launch it forward – and we have Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough, who head everything away.’