Michael Doyle: Pompey's biggest match for years
Michael Doyle eyed locking horns with Plymouth Argyle and insisted: This is our biggest game for years.
The largest Fratton Park league crowd of the season is anticipated for the Pilgrims’ visit on Saturday.
Pitching fifth against sixth, the fixture could play a significant part in the race for automatic promotion.
Paul Cook’s men are five points adrift of the top three with a game in hand as the season draws to a fascinating finale.
Argyle is the archetypal six-pointer for the Blues, who presently trail the furthest among the five hopefuls chasing two spots.
They enter the clash on the back of three successive victories, most recently a 4-1 triumph over Dagenham & Redbridge.
And the inspiration for that crucial result believes the Plymouth match is one of the club’s most significant in a considerable time.
Doyle said: ‘I said to the lads before Dagenham it was one of the biggest games Pompey have had for such a long time.
‘Well, this is even bigger.
‘Every game now just builds. We are very serious about getting promoted and need to more or less win every one of them.
‘The club have not had too many games like that for a long time.
‘Pompey have had success in the FA Cup and being in the Premier League but Dagenham was such an important day for the club.
‘If we had lost you would more or less think we had the play-offs left, let’s be honest about it.
‘The lads were aware of that and showed their character coming out in the second-half and when the chips were down getting ourselves back into the game and going on to win it.
‘That’s three wins on the bounce now and last weekend we gained a couple of points on a couple of teams. That is momentum.
‘It gets the monkey off our back and we are catching teams – now we need to drive on to the next game.
‘Plymouth are coming to us and we want to win, so it’s all to play for.
‘They have been in the automatic spots more or less all season and I am sure want to stay there and not lose it this late. This fixture is the biggest yet.’
Encouragingly, Pompey have scored nine goals in their three successive wins.
As for out-of-sorts Plymouth, they have claimed victories in only five of their previous 16 fixtures.
Doyle added: ‘I don’t think there have been too many inconsistent performances from us.
‘In most of the games we haven’t won, we’ve dominated but not scored a lot of goals.
‘We can probably afford to lose one game now but don’t want to, we need to win them. We are aware of that.
‘We just have to worry about ourselves, not anybody else.
‘Let’s win our games – then see what happens.’