KENNY JACKETT has warned his players of the dangers of over-confidence as Pompey head to Tranmere Rovers in search of a record-breaking ninth successive win.
The Portsmouth manager has guided the team into the play-off places, the fifth round of the FA Cup and the semi-finals of the Leasing.com Trophy during January, with a top two spot in League One firmly in the club’s sights.
A victory at Prenton Park on Saturday would mean Jackett’s charges would be the first Portsmouth side to win nine successive games since the club reached the Football League in 1920. But the manager has reminded the players that Tranmere will be as determined as they are to claim all three points, with their League One status under serious threat.
“There should be some confidence in the group, but that can only take you so far and we have to stay humble to earn three points at Tranmere,” said Jackett.
“I’m not too big on looking back at what’s gone before, so we’ll focus on this match and then the Coventry game comes around quickly.
“Our next opponents will do everything they can to preserve their League One status after getting into this division last season.
“It doesn’t change whether you are at the top or bottom of the table, you’re just desperate to win on the Saturday.”
The turnaround in the season has been dramatic as Pompey struggled early on, and were in the bottom half of the league for the first few months.
Top scorer Ronan Curtis believes the poor start was down to the players’ confidence as they struggled to cope with a raft of new additions to the squad.
“We didn’t get off to a good start, which was perhaps because there were a lot of new faces and they needed time to gel,” said Curtis, who this week signed a new three-and-a-half contract with the club.
“The fans were getting on our backs a bit because of the results – as you would expect – but perhaps it was a confidence thing.
“We were battering teams at times, but still not getting the result, which causes headaches and heartache. We were down near the bottom of the table and I just wanted to keep fighting and start winning for the lads and the manager.”
• Tickets have gone on sale for Pompey’s fifth round FA Cup tie against Arsenal at Fratton Park on Monday, March 2, with the game screened live on BT Sport. Season ticket holders will be able to purchase their usual seat online, or over the phone, or at the Anson Road ticket office, until 5pm on Monday, February 10. Any unsold will then be available to those who have purchased a ticket since the start of the 2017/18 season.
The Monday date means Pompey’s League One fixture against Rochdale at Fratton Park has now been brought forward to Friday, February 28.