Kenny Jackett rules out home advantage as Portsmouth seek to create play-off history at Oxford

Kenny Jackett has dismissed the significance of home advantage as Pompey target Kassam Stadium victory to clinch a Wembley return.

Monday, 6th July 2020, 7:00 am
Kenny Jackett addresses Pompey's team during a water break in Friday's play-off semi-final first leg against Oxford. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues concluded their Fratton Park season on Friday with a 1-1 draw against Oxford United in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-finals.

It sealed an unbeaten home record in league and play-off fixtures for 2019-20 – spanning 19 games.

Jackett’s men are now challenged with today claiming a win at the Kassam Stadium to ensure progress to the play-off final.

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Pompey have never scored an away goal in play-off fixtures – and also never won seven previous fixtures in the format.

But the Blues boss is convinced the behind-closed-doors element has removed the concept of home advantage,

He said: ‘We finished strongly against Oxford on Friday and it was good to see that happen without the crowd, because usually they will bring that in.

‘Personally, looking at the games, I think it has been the best sides which have won, whether that be home or away.

‘The home advantage hasn’t necessarily been there. I do think that has been the case in all of the games.

‘If you look at the Premier League and Championship, it’s the best side on the day rather than home advantage.

‘It is usually a massive advantage for us at home, in terms of having the crowd here. It’s a very passionate place.

‘And, similarly, it can be hard to play as well and work against us.

‘However, the way crowds can affect a game is not there now.’

In the League Two play-offs, Northampton overturned a 2-0 defeat on home territory by Cheltenham.

They secured their play-off final place with a 3-0 triumph at Whaddon Road, subsequently winning promotion against Exeter at Wembley.

However, both Exeter and Colchester won their home legs in the other League Two semi-final.

Meanwhile, in League One, Wycombe claimed a 4-1 success at nine-man Fleetwood on Friday evening.

And Pompey will need to triumph today (5pm) at the Kassam Stadium to reach Wembley,

Jackett added: ‘We played pretty well on Friday and were strong, it was quite even.

‘We put balls into good areas and they defended their box. Maybe we have to do more in those situations, we must keep knocking on the door.

‘The first half-an-hour was good and probably the last half-an-hour.

‘I thought we lost our way at different times in the middle, but maybe that is doing Oxford a disservice, they are going to have a spell, they are a good side.

‘We have to focus on the second leg and do everything we can to learn from Friday night and put on a positive display.’

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