Portsmouth skipper Tom Naylor using Barnsley as inspiration as Blues target their own fairytale finish

Tom Naylor is using Barnsley as inspiration as he targets promotion with Pompey this season.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 5:30 am
Updated Wednesday, 18th December 2019, 6:55 pm

And the skipper is of the opinion the Blues have the necessary fire-power to allow them to achieve their Championship objective.

Kenny Jackett’s side currently sit 10th in the League One standings.

Saturday’s 4-1 hammering at Accrington did their promotion hopes no favours.

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Yet Pompey remain just three points adrift of a place in the play-offs, with a game in hand, thanks to other results going their way at the weekend.

Their situation is not too dissimilar to that of Barnsley during the 2015-16 League campaign.

Back then, the Tykes also found the going tough before the halfway stage of the season and even found themselves 22nd in the table following a 3-2 defeat at Peterborough on November 22, 2015.

But their season was transformed from December 28 onwards, with the Oakwell outfit going on a seven-match winning streak that lifted them up the table.

Pompey captain Tom Naylor

They also suffered only three defeats between then and the end of the season – an impressive turnaround that eventually saw them promoted to the Championship via the play-offs.

It’s a scenario Naylor clearly takes hope from as he targets his own fairytale finish to the current campaign.

And he believes there’s no reason why Pompey can’t do a Barnsley and ultimately prove the doubters wrong.

Naylor said: 'Last season we were on fire and ahead by seven points and then we just fell short.

‘This year it's the other way round and it would be good to have a late surge towards the end of the season.

'Barnsley did it a few years back, they were nowhere near it and they just went on a massive run and got promoted.

‘That's what we want to do now.

‘We want to go under the radar, get up there and get into the Championship.’

Pompey’s defensive shortcomings were exposed during Saturday’s defeat at Accrington – a major factor in their loss at the Crown Ground.

A reshuffle of the back line because of injuries and absences made the Blues light at the back, with Naylor dropping in from his normal midfield role to help fill the voids created.

The Blues’ problems in that department came in for criticism as they shipped in four goals to register their biggest defeat under Jackett.

Naylor, however, as faith in his team-mates.

And in the forwards department, he believes Pompey have the ammunition to ensure such days are few and far between.

The captain added 'I don’t see why (Pompey cannot still challenge for promotion).

'I fully believe in what we've got in this dressing room and if the gaffer wanted to add a few new faces in January to improve the team, then fair do’s.

‘But I think Ellis (Harrison) is dong well, he's scoring a few goals now.

'Ronan (Curtis) has been playing well, Willo (Ryan Williams) has too, and obviously Marcus (Harness) is always there.

‘He's a great player and once he gets on the ball you know something is going to happen.

‘Then we've got John(Marquis) in the number 10 role where he can make things happen, so we've got loads of fire-power, loads and loads on the bench as well, which can do the job.’