Southend manager Sol Campbell admitted his team’s performances are ‘getting better’ as he prepares to take his side to Fratton Park.
Pompey play host to the Shrimpers on Tuesday night in only the former Blues captain’s third game in charge of the Roots Hall outfit.
His first two matches have ended in defeats to Ipswich and Sunderland, ensuring Southend travel to PO4 second from bottom in the table.
But speaking after Saturday’s 1-0 loss at the Stadium of Light, Pompey’s 2008 FA Cup-winning skipper said he was seeing signs of improvement ahead of his Fratton Park return.
Campbell told the Southend Echo: ‘It’s another defeat but the performances are getting better.
‘We looked nervous at the beginning but we grew as the game went on.
‘Sunderland had a bit more possession but so did we the longer it went on and the lads played really, really well.
‘It was a great performance.
‘Yes, we’ve lost but we stayed in the game.
‘We just need a little bit of luck in front of goal now but we have to work hard to earn that luck.’
Sunderland’s victory was only their second since Phil Parkinson was named their new manager last month.
It moves the Black Cats up to seventh in the table.
Parkinson said securing three points was more important than the performance, after two long away trips in the build-up.
‘I’m very pleased,’ Parkinson told chroniclelive.co.uk.
‘We’ve had two long trips on the road this week, so maybe we weren’t at our sharpest for the whole game but in patches I thought we were good.
‘The important thing is that you get the result and I thought we concentrated really well, showed good resilience, and probably should have scored more – although some of our crossing wasn’t as good as I would have liked.’
While Wycombe moved to the top of the standings with a 1-0 win against Shrewsbury, fellow promotion contenders Fleetwood fell to fifth in the table following their 2-1 defeat at bottom-of-the-table Bolton.
It was the Cod Army’s second successive league defeat on the road.
And with their next League One away day at Pompey on November 16, boss Joey Barton said their form on the road was ‘killing’ them.
He told fleetwoodtownfc.com: ‘Our away form is killing us, you can’t give away goals that we have done at any level of football. It is becoming a common theme.
‘I am a manager that likes to give young players chances and play in the right way. But we are going to have to sit down and talk about how we do that.
‘It is virtually every week away from home that we are talking about an individual error or giving the opposition a leg up and a chance to get into the game.
‘We have to accept that. As frustrating it is, we need to get out on the training ground and iron out those mistakes.
‘If we don’t do it soon, we are going to miss a glorious opportunity, because I feel as if this division is wide open.’
Other League One results: Wimbledon 1-1 Lincoln, Blackpool 4-3 Peterborough, Coventry 0-0 Accrington, Doncaster Rovers 2-2 Burton, Gillingham 0-3 Rotherham, MK Dons 1-3 Tranmere, Rochdale 1-2 Bristol Rovers.