PORTSMOUTH kick off a run of three home games in less than a week on Tuesday night, with Kenny Jackett determined to see his players rediscover the winning habit against MK Dons.
Since putting together a record-breaking sequence of nine successive victories, Pompey have lost two of their last three in the league, a run that has seen them drop out of the top six.
But with five of their next six league games at Fratton Park, Jackett is hoping to take full advantage of Pompey’s excellent form on the south coast – they boast the only unbeaten home record in League One.
Victory over Russell Martin’s side will see Portsmouth move back into the play-off places, and Jackett wants a positive reaction after the disappointing reverse at Fleetwood on Saturday.
“Our players will be determined to bounce back because the games come thick and fast, and we don’t have time to dwell on things,” said Jackett, whose side face back-to-back league matches at Fratton Park in the space of 72 hours.
“It’s a high standard at the top of the division and I think the Rotherham manager said that you have to win every week just to stand still.”
After the MK Dons game, Rochdale head south before next Monday’s televised home FA Cup clash against Arsenal. But it’s away from the south coast where Portsmouth have struggled this season, the defeat at the Highbury Stadium their eighth on their travels.
“We want to keep doing well in our home games, but you also can’t lose ground in those away matches,” added Jackett, who hopes to have Ellis Harrison available after his late withdrawal at Fleetwood. “There are some of our promotion rivals to play on the road and matches against lower placed sides here at Fratton Park.
“But you can’t always predict which ones are going to be harder and they’re all opportunities for us to collect points.
“It’s a big seven days for us now and we should enjoy the challenge, while trying to make sure the performances and results are what we’re looking for.”
One player Jackett is desperate to have back in the starting XI is Andy Cannon, who has struggled to shake off a glute injury picked up in the home win over Sunderland at the start of the month.
The midfielder is in contention for the game on Tuesday night and Jackett said: “Andy can give us something different in the number 10 position and links the play very well between defence and attack. We’ll make a final decision on Tuesday morning and I’m optimistic.”