Kenny Jackett challenges resurgent Portsmouth to 90-point promotion goal

Kenny Jackett surveyed a third-straight Pompey victory – and challenged his side to reach the pivotal 90-point mark.

Sunday, 24th March 2019, 9:53 pm
Updated Monday, 25th March 2019, 1:53 pm

Saturday’s 2-0 success at Shrewsbury was achieved through goals from Ben Close and Brett Pitman.

It lifted the Blues into third spot on 74 points, ahead of Sunderland, whose weekend fixture was cancelled through international call-ups.

Jackett has pinpointed 90 points as the requirement for earning automatic promotion from League One this season.

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That requires Pompey to secure five wins and one draw from their remaining seven league matches of the season.

That tally also exceeds the 87 points they collected to win the League Two title in 2016-17.

Yet it remains a target for Jackett’s resurgent side.

Pompey’s boss said: 'We are on 74 points, but you need to get to 90, that's generally the case.

‘There are 21 points still to play for, but usually a total of 90-plus gets you into the top two – and it looks like that’s going to be the case this year.

‘Promotion with points in the 80s will happen now and again – one year or two – but generally it doesn't

'Luton, Barnsley and Sunderland have had long, long unbeaten runs and that has put standards and points totals for the top two very high.

‘We have just jumped into third because Sunderland didn't play this weekend due to the international break and we have to keep the pressure on them.

‘That's the thing, you never know what’s going to happen, we have to keep the pressure on the top two and always believe we can do it, which is important.

‘After that, we must do everything we can to get the third or fourth spot, so in the play-offs we will get home advantage in the second leg.

‘Beyond that you are looking at the gap between ourselves and seventh spot to qualify for the play-offs, which obviously we haven’t done yet.’

Of the other sides striving for automatic promotion, Luton, Barnsley and Sunderland have yet to suffer a league defeat in 2019.

Luton are now unbeaten in 26 league matches, their last loss arriving against Barnsley on October 13.

Barnsley’s most recent league defeat was against Wycombe on December 8 – 18 games ago.

While the last time Sunderland lost in any competition, 19 in total, was at Fratton Park, when Pompey won 3-1 on December 22.

Jackett added: 'It's tough to keep real momentum all the way through the season.

‘Fair play, some sides do, I've had teams that do, but if you are looking at your overall points total, we are on 74 with 21 still to play for.

‘You can't really complain at that, but the standards of the other sides is high.

'Hopefully we can keep getting results, we look forward to Wembley and after that want to maintain this league form.’