Danny Hollands insists Jed Wallace has the self-belief to step up to the penalty spot again – if the chance arises at Cambridge tomorrow.
The Blues’ top goalscorer missed his spot-kick in the 1-0 win over Exeter last weekend but then showed immense character to fire the stoppage-time winner to seal a welcome three points for Pompey.
Andy Awford’s side will now attempt to make it consecutive wins in League Two for the first time since August at the Abbey Stadium as they bid to extend their recent improvement.
They will also be looking for their first league double of the season, having claimed a 2-1 win against Richard Money’s side in their first home fixture of the campaign back in August.
And Hollands has total faith in team-mate Wallace to continue with the pressure job.
‘Jed’s got a strong character and good self-belief so I’m sure he will want to take the next one (penalty),’ said Hollands.
‘What stood out for me against Exeter was that he kept getting on the ball and wanting to make things happen.
‘Thankfully for him and for us, he got that goal.
‘But he did the other side of the game and put in a lot of defensive work as well.
‘Hopefully he can put in the same sort of performance at Cambridge.
‘He is a good talent and he’s confident with his own ability. He does his bit for the team, like everyone does.
‘He is still a very, very young lad and, like anyone, he’s got things to learn.
‘But he is a pleasure to play with and you never know what he’s going to do.
‘He gets the ball at his feet and he can create something out of nothing.
‘Anyone who can do that is a special talent.
‘He is playing in that number-10 role and his job within the team is to create things and get goals.
‘Hopefully we can benefit from that and he can keep doing it until the end of the season.’
Senior pro Hollands revealed he had a quiet word with the youngster on the pitch in the immediate aftermath of his penalty miss to offer some support.
‘I didn’t get on at him. He knows himself he was capable of putting it away,’ admitted Hollands.
‘I just said “keep your head up and keep going”. He did and thankfully he came up with the goods.
‘I actually think it geed him up a bit and he got things by the scruff of the neck.’
Pompey have now gone four games without conceding a goal and could leapgrog tomorrow’s opponents and move to 14th in the table if they can seal victory.
But February has already proved to be a productive month so far, with seven points out of nine, and Hollands is keen to maintain the recent momentum.
He added: ‘If we have a good February, it can set us up for March and April and you keep pushing yourself on.
‘The table is very tight and we’ve got a game or two in hand on some teams.
‘We’ve done well in the past four games but we have got to take each game as it comes and keep the results coming.
‘If they do, then we will start looking to achieve things.
‘The next target is to beat Cambridge and get another three points.’