Why Oxford clashes shouldn't be a repeat of Sunderland woe for Pompey
Friday, 19th Jun 2020 20:31 by pompey-fans.com staff
Burn-out won't cost Pompey their chances in the play-offs again this year.
So says Kenny Jackett, who is insistent the long break between the end of the regular season and the knockout clashes with Oxford mean they will not suffer the fatigue that saw them slip to a 1-0 aggregate defeat against Sunderland at the same stage last year.
Pompey host Oxford in the semi-final first league in a fortnight - on July 3 - and visit the Kassam for the second leg three days later.
Jackett recalled: 'By the time we reached the play-offs last season, the side had run out of steam – our form leading into it showed that. We didn’t win any of our last three games – including one at Sunderland – while before that we enjoyed seven victories in a row.
'But it shouldn’t be the case this year, as everyone will be fresh after their extended time away from football. It’s going to be more about making sure we’re fully up to speed because we need to be ready right away.
'Play-off games are traditionally tight affairs and above everything else, you need to take your chances. Both Gareth Evans and James Vaughan had great opportunities against Sunderland – they were big moments.
'Our opponents were very good at drawing games and we needed to be able to delivery in those occasions and put our chances away. But I believe we have the players at the top end of the pitch who can do just that and really make the difference.'