Jack Ross has been previewing the crucial trip to Pompey, which many feel could make, or break, our season. Ross said: “It’s like all games, individually they will not define a season unless it’s the final game where the outcome determines a finish. In the middle of a season, games can take on significance, so I will not shy away from that given where we are and Portsmouth are. How I am, at the moment, I would try to judge myself against success. To contradict that slightly, I would think we are slightly further ahead than maybe we thought after the summer we had. Because the club was in a huge transition through the whole club, those things impact on the football side of things. We wanted to try to be in and around the top seven around now and then push on in January, so I would think we are slightly ahead. We have a couple of potential worries, we will assess on Friday. By and large it’s the same situation, Reece James is back. Already we have seen we have rotated the squad during busy periods so it’s understandable we will freshen up for these games coming up.”

The gaffer also denied that the club have made moves to bring in Jermain Defoe and Connor Wickham on loan: “Some of the stuff I have read has been wholly inaccurate. I would expect there was an outside chance (of being busy because of people leaving). More than it being likely. There has been no indication of any players wanting to leave and nothing from other clubs wanting to take our players away. We are still ten days away from the window and there has been no indication of either of those things. I have never really been worried about losing players from the squad because that’s the nature of football. I suppose with Josh’s situation, he’s fit at the moment and out of contract at the end of the season, that will be a factor for potential suitors and I get that. That’s the nature of the beast and if they’re interested then they might not show their hand just yet, why would they? We are still confident that Josh and Lynden will stay at the club. There’s nothing in my planning that thinks they won’t be there. Equally I have been surprised before in football but at the moment I am confident everything will remain in place.”

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