Pearce: It’s cup final time

Jason Pearce
Jason Pearce

Five games. Five cup finals.

It’s one of the most well-worn clichés in football – but one which now rings true for Pompey’s season.

Every one of the remaining games for Michael Appleton’s men now takes on the air of a shoot-out.

There, quite simply, is no room left for manoeuvre in the fight for Championship survival.

The Blues have to pick up maximums to give themselves hope of staying up, especially after Bristol City’s 3-1 win over Coventry yesterday left them nine points adrift of safety.

Millwall arrive in the first of their must-win fixtures tonight at Fratton Park.

It’s going to be a game of critical importance under the lights, but one Pompey go into buoyed by the manner of Saturday’s last-ditch equaliser against Southampton in the south coast showdown.

Jason Pearce knows the challenge is to put a consistent run of form together for the remainder of the run-in.

That’s something that has been missing from Pompey’s game for much of the season.

Now it’s about wins – and nothing else.

Pearce said: ‘We have five massive cup finals to come.

‘We haven’t had good consistency in our games and we need that.

‘Now we need to refocus. We need to stay together.

‘It was a good result on Saturday but now we need to win at home.

‘The fans have been superb all season.

‘We haven’t been doing the best on the pitch but they keep us going.

‘Hopefully they will turn up in their numbers and we can get the win for them.

‘A few results may have to go for us.

‘But we have something to build on. We got the draw but we need to win our games.

‘Millwall’s next and will be tough.

‘We need to keep our feet on the ground and we need to try to win every game.’

The manner in which Pompey twice came from behind to salvage a draw against their fierce rivals on Saturday spoke of the spirit which still courses through the team.

The result undoubtedly provided a lift and injected much-needed impetus into the side after the thumping loss to Burnley.

That fighting spirit has to now be carried forward into the meeting with Millwall.

Pearce said: ‘The Southampton game shows you the character we’ve got here.

‘Everyone can see that.

‘We kept going and Chuck (Norris) got a great strike. Everyone is on a bit of a high after that.

‘It was one of our best performances. We played a different way but the commitment was there.

‘We were fighting for each other. We all put a shift in.

‘We were working right through the team. You can’t fault anybody. It showed in our spirit.

‘But now we need to build on Saturday.’

Pearce highlighted Chris Maguire as a key man for Pompey in the their run-in.

Maguire’s stunning strike against Southampton on Saturday is an immediate contender for goal of the season. That was the Scot’s third strike in six starts since arriving at Fratton Park.

Pearce believes his eye for goal could prove to be the difference for his side in the coming weeks as the battle against the drop intensifies.

He said: ‘If you give Chris a chance he’ll smash it straight in.

‘He did that against Southampton and, credit to him, he’s been fantastic since he’s been here.

‘He’s come up with some important goals and brilliant goals.’