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Portsmouth   v   Gillingham
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 11th March 2017 Kick-off 15:00
Will Pompey play Jekyll at Colchester, or Hyde?
Friday, 10th Mar 2017 20:27 by staff

Having seen Pompey move into the top three after about six months of trying, Pompey fans have probably now moved on to wondering whether it was a good move with 10 games to go, and might have been a better plan had it happened on the final day of the season.

Given their up and down form all season, the chances of the run-in going without a hitch seem slim. But nevertheless, you can't argue with the fact that four wins and two draws from their last seven games amounts to a decent return.

And the fact it has been enough to place them. for now at least, into an automatic promotion spot, also shows their rivals for the prize aren't exactly ripping it up every week.

Can they cope with the different pressure that being in third, rather than striving for third, brings? We shall start to find out when we see how they fare at Colchester this weekend.

If Pompey don't keep up their goodish recent form, other teams are waiting to pounce. Luton, in fact, have a game in hand over Paul Cook's team and are only two points behind, while the Blues sit only one point ahead of Carlisle, four ahead of Stevenage, five Exeter.

There is little room for another slip-up in Essex and Cook is just trying to keep heads somewhere close to level.

He told the Pompey website: 'You can wallow in disappointment as much as glory, but the one thing to focus on is that the games do come thick and fast. It was an excellent team performance on Tuesday and we were backed by an army of fans, whose desire to back their team shone through from first minute to last.

'But my job is to lift the players or to bring them back down to earth – and you have to be ready to do both. We’ve had good days and bad days, so it’s important just to concentrate on the job at hand.'

Skipper Michael Doyle has been speaking about the players' need to cope with the pressure and continue to show they are better than their display at home to Crewe last weekend suggested.

He told the club website: ‘We need to be at it every game. We can’t pick and choose games. That’s where we need to get that consistency. We took control early (at Crawley) and they dropped off us because we were getting through them.

‘It was a long night for them. We disappointed them. That’s what we have to do now. They set up positively, saw we’re under pressure and tried to take our scalp. They tried to have a go, but we stood up to it.

'We had to work hard to break them down and there was a lot of them behind the ball. We were patient and, like Carlisle, we started strong and finished strong. ‘It was a good result but now it’s about Colchester.’

Team selection appears unhampered by any new injuries and Cook is unlkely to make many or even any changes from the side that won at Crawley.

Colchester come into the game still very much in the hunt for a play-off place, currently sitting three points behind Exeter, who occupy the final play-off spot.


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