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Portsmouth   v   Luton Town
SkyBet League One
Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Why Scunthorpe visit could be pivotal for Pompey
Friday, 12th Jan 2018 17:07 by pompey-fans.com staff

By most fans' assessments, Pompey have done very well to enter the second half of the season in the play-off places. But the competitive nature of the league means one more slip-up could see them bombed out of the top six and facing a battle to get back in.

This weekend Pompey play Scunthorpe - one of the trio of clubs ahead of the Blues in the play-off zone but not in the top two themselves - and it is a clash they will not want to lose, although a draw would arguably be a decent return.

A defeat for Kenny Jackett's side this week could see as many as four clubs overtake them, with Rotherham, Peterborough, Charlton and Oxford all within three points of the Blues.

Jackett realises the visit to Fratton of The Iron is a good test of how far Pompey have come this season. He told the club website: 'This starts a run of games against sides who are either above us or around us in the table. So it’s going to be a big test of our aspirations to stay in the top six because all those teams will have the same ambitions.

'Scunthorpe are a very good side and were very unlucky not to go up last season – they’re also making a decent fist of it this year. They’ve got plenty of depth to their squad and are still looking to improve, so will be one of many sides looking for a strong end to the campaign.

'But we have a good home record and there will be a big, positive crowd in. We want to produce the right performance to lift them. It’s about finding those right enthusiasm and quality levels to make sure we challenge the opposition and bring our fans into play.

'Consistency, as we know, is key. The points totals are high for promotion in this division, so we need to find a way of winning on a regular basis.'

Pompey hope defender Nathan Thompson and midfielder Ben Close could both be face to face Scunthorpe despite picking up knocks in the League Trophy defeat to Chelsea on Tuesday night. But Gareth Evans and Stuart O'Keefe remain sidelined.

Scunthorpe are strong on the road - they have won four of their last six in the league away from Glandford Park.

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