Why Portsmouth players' resilience still impresses despite ongoing promotion shortcomings
The character of Pompey’s squad was undeniable at Gillingham on Tuesday night.
Under-fire Kenny Jackett’s players produced an impressive reaction to cascading criticism after Doncaster defeat extended an unconvincing start to the campaign.
Not since January 2019, have the Blues lost successive League One fixtures.
On that occasion, it became three-in-a-row, with Blackpool, Oxford United and Luton registering victories to topple Jackett’s men from the top of the table.
It represented the start of the decline, as a Blues side which had previously led League One for three-and-a-half months tumbled to an eventual fourth placing.
Yet ever since a mid-week 3-2 defeat at Luton on January 29, 2019, Pompey have bounced back from a league loss with a positive result.
Certainly Jackett has a penchant for winning streaks, twice recording eight consecutive victories in 2018-19.
Last term his side created a club Football League record of nine straight triumphs in all competitions.
In terms of defeats, though, his teams have demonstrated the determination to instantly bounce back.
In fact, successive losses have happened just once since April 2018 – Pompey’s first campaign back in League One.
In that season, it happened on four occasions as the Blues consolidated their return to that level with an eighth-placed finish.
Still, in more recent times, Jackett’s side have lost in two play-off semi-finals and started the last two seasons extremely poorly.
Yet they continue to demonstrate the ability to respond to defeat, a trait to be recognised as a positive.
Granted, Jackett has few friends among the Pompey fanbase at present, the statistic could be argued as nothing more than trivial.
However, it does reflect a strong mindset among the players – and manager – with the ability to respond constructively to a setback.
Certainly that was evident at Gillingham, with a comfortable display in which the likes of Sean Raggett, Michael Jacobs and, arguably, Tom Naylor produced their best displays yet this term.
While players can be criticised for performances like Doncaster, they deserve to be respected for the Priestfield Stadium reaction.
Although bearing in mind the false start, they require a lengthy winning streak to put themselves back in the automatic promotion frame.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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