Portsmouth urged to make city proud by beating Charlton and Oxford to final League One play-off place

Pompey can make a city proud by booking their place in the League One play-offs.

Saturday, 8th May 2021, 8:00 am
Pompey celebrate their win at AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Jason Brown

That's the verdict of Blues writer Jordan Cross, speaking in the latest episode of Pompey Talk.

Danny Cowley s side are in the driving seat for the final place in the top six heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

Pompey welcome Accrington Stanley to Fratton Park and a victory will guarantee a spot in the play-offs.

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It's a high-pressure clash with Oxford and Charlton snapping at their heels ahead of their respective games with Burton and Hull.

The Blues still have a live chance of bringing Championship football back to PO4 for the first time since 2012.

And ensuring Pompey extend their season into the play-offs can ensure the likes of Tom Naylor, Ronan Curtis and John Marquis can put them on the verge of etching their names into Fratton folklore.

Speaking on Pompey Talk, Cross said: ‘There are no excuses – if you can't get yourself up for this then there's something wrong.

‘It's a live game and hopefully a couple of live games and then maybe even another one after that. These are big occasions and the stakes are high.

‘Danny Cowley was glowing about the situation during his press conference. I think he wants the players to embrace it and use the energy of the occasion but be switched on enough to make the right decisions in the game.

‘Does he have faith in his players? I think he has a bit more conviction in them after a big-pressure game last weekend against AFC Wimbledon because they stepped up and delivered there.

‘Some doubts were creeping in, certainly in the Accrington game and at Swindon. There's certainly conviction now.

‘Just go and savour it. Go and make yourself a hero, go and make a city proud of you and deliver. That's what the challenge is for the Pompey players this weekend.'

There have been questions mark about the character of some of the players in the current squad amid an inconsistent season.

Cross reckons it's now time for Pompey to rise to the occasion.

He added: ‘This is an occasion when you're going to find out about the character of the Pompey players. We've been here so many times on the final day, normally fighting for survival like the Huddersfields, Bradfords and Barnsleys going down the years.

‘The pressure is probably higher in those environments when fighting for survival to stay in the division and we obviously had the fans there, which factored into it.

‘The players found the answers and showed the character.

‘There have been some questions about the players this season. We've asked the questions and represented the fans, they've had to face criticism.

‘Kenny Jackett was in the firing line but when the poor form continued after Danny Cowley's start, it went on the players.

‘They're the ones in the firing line and it's down to them to step up and show the calibre.’