JAMES BOLTON has warned of the dangers of dwelling on their midweek defeat against Coventry, fearing any drop off in the high standards Pompey have set themselves could hamper their push for a top-two spot.
Kenny Jackett’s side were unlucky to lose against their rivals for promotion, with Matt Godden’s clinical finish the difference between the teams in a tight affair.
Despite the defeat, Pompey are still in the top six with games in hand on many of those above them, and on Saturday they face Bolton’s former side, Shrewsbury Town.
“The defeat on Tuesday hurt us, although the games are coming thick and fast now, so you can’t look back,” said Bolton, who has cemented his place in the right-back role over recent months.
“You glance at the schedule and it’s relentless, but that’s why you have tough pre-seasons and spend a bit longer in the gym.
“We have to relish it and look forward to the games because promotion is wide open for a lot of teams.
“Getting into the Championship would be a big achievement for me personally and it would be massive for the whole squad.”
While Bolton has been an integral part of a defensive unit that has become increasingly difficult to break down – Godden’s strike the only goal conceded in four games – Jackett is demanding more from his attacking players, especially in the penalty box.
The Portsmouth boss wants to see more quality and confidence in the final third, believing an improvement in their finishing could be crucial in the push for promotion.
“You will see a lot of tight games at this stage of the season when you’ve already played so many fixtures. But for all the periods of dominance we have – and there are times we look a really strong team – we need to get more shots away,” said Jackett, who will again be without Andy Cannon for the visit of Sam Ricketts’ side to Fratton Park,
“I think that it’s a combination of tactical play, team selection and also the attitude in your mind. It might be we’re in good wide areas and the ball doesn’t go in or perhaps there aren’t enough people to meet those crosses.
“As much as you want shots from everywhere, the ones that usually count come from inside the 18-yard box.
“We’ll look to do that against a Shrewsbury side who have a very good defensive record and look to be a solid unit.
“There are 15 league games remaining for us – which is a big chunk of the season – and I think we can rise to the challenge. We’re certainly capable of beating anyone on our day and it’s about making sure we get the details right.”