Kenny Jackett: Portsmouth players thriving in promotion pressure

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
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Pompey manager Kenny Jackett believes his players are basking in the pressure of a tense promotion race.

The buoyant Blues are League One’s in-form side, with six-successive victories in all competitions.

The winning streak has catapulted Jackett’s men within two points of second-placed Sunderland – with the teams scheduled to meet on April 27.

Pompey are rising to the challenge magnificently during a period when teams notoriously crack, none more so than during the 2016-17 League Two finale.

And Jackett has been impressed with his players’ ability to cope with the tension.

He said: ‘I don’t think there has been any complacency this season, more of a problem sometimes is pressure.

‘It works that way when you are in these situations and it’s about how you handle it, how you help the players to get over it. And the players are coping with that pressure.

‘Sometimes pressure is a good thing. You would want to be playing for Portsmouth in these types of situations and we do tell the players that.

‘There is a degree of enjoying it and relishing the opportunity, Rochdale was a big opportunity for us.

‘Long may it continue because it did look like to get up into those automatic positions you needed that type of run.

‘Luton lost after 28 league games unbeaten and, if you are around that top three, you need a fantastic run.

‘For us to get five-consecutive league victories is very good, but to try to get that promotion you need that type of form.’

The Blues have dispatched Walsall, Scunthorpe, Shrewsbury, Wycombe and Rochdale during their late-season surge.

There was also Checkatrade Trophy victory over Sunderland at Wembley.

And next up is a tough Good Friday trip to recent Barnsley-conquerors Burton.

Jackett added: ‘You must analyse each game as an individual, which is a good way of putting it. It’s a very old adage, but a good one.

‘Burton away on Friday will be different from Rochdale at home, which was different from Wycombe, then the one before that was Sunderland at Wembley.

‘These are all different types of challenges which maybe need either a different mentality or a different tactical approach.

‘This is good consistency from the players, though, in terms of preparation and desire. They have shown that all season.’