Paul Cook has called on Pompey to retain the belief they can succeed in their promotion goal.
The Blues lock horns with Accrington Stanley tonight (7.45pm), pitching the fourth and fifth-place sides against each other.
John Coleman’s team currently stand one place higher, with one more point than the Blues.
Yet, for Pompey, the trip to the Crown Ground represents their game in hand on rivals Plymouth and Oxford United, who sit nine points above.
And Cook is fully aware of how crucial tonight’s result could be in the promotion hunt.
He said: ‘We have got to keep believing we are going to get promoted.
‘If we don’t and fall short we respect that. But we have to believe it and speak in a positive way.
‘At this stage of the season I think people cower away from talking about it. Why should you?
‘We want to go up and if we need a certain amount of wins to do it why not give everything to achieve that?
‘We are at the stage now where a win to both teams is huge – and you have to want it. Tonight we have the intention of winning the game.
‘This is now a crunch time that we want to pick up points.
‘If the game is drawn I don’t think it is the end of the world for anyone, it just gives you another point towards where you want to go. The reality is the next game becomes more important.
‘Our encounters with Accrington this season have been tight, the teams are probably quite equally matched and the margins will be small.
‘They play a similar system, a similar style. I imagine these games do become games of chess sometimes.’
– NEIL ALLEN