BEN CLOSE believes Pompey have silenced the fitness doubters.
The midfielder feels his team have answered those questioning the stamina of Kenny Jackett’s men.
The Blues’ levels of fitness was put under the spotlight following a spate of last-ditch goals being conceded at the start of the year.
Former defender Drew Talbot then stated the Pompey players’ fitness regimes were left up to the individual.
That left to some supporters raising their own concerns over the ability of the players to last 90-plus minutes.
Pompey emerged from the busy Easter period in fine fettle, however, with two wins in just over 48 hours.
Title-chasing Wigan had a day longer to prepare for Monday’s clash in which Jackett’s men emerged victorious.
That success was also achieved without any subs being made.
Close feels that says it all when it comes to his team’s stamina levels.
He said: ‘We’re physically fit enough to do it.
‘We’ve absolutely answered those questions.
‘We played Saturday and Monday and we’ve won both games.
‘There were no substitutions made against Wigan.
‘When you’re winning it’s hard to make subs.
‘It’s sometimes hard for a player to come on and feel the pace of the game.
‘It’s hard to do that straightaway.
‘It would definitely be hard to come on against Wigan and do it straightaway. It was such a quick game.
‘But on the fitness side of things I think we’ve shown we’re fit enough.
‘That’s something we now need to do again moving forward.
‘We just have to look forward to the games coming up.’
Close will look to continue his strong form as Pompey go to Rochdale.
The 21-year-old again impressed in the middle of the park in the 2-1 win over Wigan on Monday night.
It was the academy graduate who won the penalty which Brett Pitman converted to put his side in front.
That showcased an attacking side of his game Close is enjoying and keen to continue developing, with two goals to his name so far this term.
Close said: ‘Ideally that’s another part I can add to my game. It’s something I want to do in future.’
– JORDAN CROSS