Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett targets automatic promotion after Checkatrade Trophy triumph
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 31/03/19 7:45pm
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett says he remains hopeful his side can achieve automatic promotion from League One after winning the Checkatrade Trophy.
For long periods in the first half against Sunderland at Wembley, Pompey appeared rattled by Jack Ross' men and went behind to Aiden McGeady's superb free-kick seven minutes before half-time.
But there was a major shift in momentum in the second half, with Nathan Thompson sending the final to extra-time, before an eventual 5-4 win on penalties for the South Coast outfit, after Lee Cattermole missed the Black Cats' crucial second penalty.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the final whistle, Jackett explained how he hoped taking the silverware back to Fratton Park would spur Portsmouth on for a final push towards the top two in the weeks that remain.
He told presenter David Prutton: "Realistically, it looks like Luton are gone, but I do think second is still open; Barnsley have been on an outstanding run, as have Luton, but we have to keep pushing, because you never know what happens and I do think second spot is open for us.
"But if not, we'll be involved in some big games like this. One way or another, as a club, we've got to come to this. We had four years being in League Two and the adminstration and we have to build up towards being the big club that we aspire to be.
"Yes, but you have to work hard at it - it's not a given. We had an outstanding promotion from League Two under Paul Cook...and now we are trying to build on that if we can. But you can't just expect it, you have to work hard at it and persevere."
Addressing his side's success in the second half, Jackett detailed the way in which a select few tactical changes worked to his side's advantage after the break.
He continued: "We needed to have a little bit more confidence in ourselves. We had a setup where Tom Naylor was just a bit too deep, Ben Close needed to get deeper and get on the ball and really, I thought Brett Pitman was too deep in the first half; we needed to get up and around Omar Bogle a little bit more.
"Those tactical changes helped, but having said that, we showed a lot of character as well. From 45 minutes on, I thought we dominated and deserved to win. Sunderland were, quite rightly, ahead in the first half but it was a terrific comeback and we persevered and got there in the end.
"If we are going to go up this year, we have to work out a way of winning big games. If we are going to be the club that we want to be, we are going to have to find a way to do that and we did today.
"If you look at us now, we are guaranteed 60 games this season and possibly two or three more in the play-offs. To achieve promotion under those circumstances -it'll be a very good achievement for whoever gets there."