ENDA STEVENS has pinpointed the fitness factor as the key to winning League Two.
The Pompey defender remains convinced his side has what it takes to win the title this season.
We believe we’re the fittest team in this leagueEnda Stevens
The Blues passed another examination of their credentials as they came from 2-0 down to grab a 2-2 draw at Wycombe on Saturday.
But the afternoon ended with Paul Cook’s side in fifth place in the League Two table – six points off the automatic promotion berths.
The clash at Adams Park saw Pompey looking the stronger as they finished the game on the front foot.
A winning goal didn’t arrive, but Cook’s side have been able to find a late strike in five games so far this season.
Stevens is convinced that’s as a result of Pompey being able to play until the final whistle – or as manager Paul Cook always says, ‘they just keep going’.
And the Irish full-back feels that will ensure his team can still achieve his target of going up as champions.
Stevens said: ‘We believe we’re the fittest team in this league and we can stay on the front foot for 90 minutes,
‘There is that belief that we can do it and keep it going as players.
‘We are fit and strong.
‘We want to be top. That’s the aim. That’s why everyone came here.
‘We want to win the league. We want to win every game we play in – and that’s what we set out to do.
‘We have to give ourselves a chance of doing that.
‘It’s going to be hard, but I’m happy to be in the team.
‘I want to work hard for the team and I still want to win the league.’
Stevens’ forward-thinking intent from the left-back position has been a major part of Pompey’s attacking play so far this season.
The 25-year-old has delivered seven assists from that position so far.
Stevens had targeted getting into double figures at the start of the campaign. That may need reappraising if he continues to serve up goals at the current rate.
‘I’m on seven assists,’ said Stevens.
‘I said I’m aiming for 10 earlier on in the season. Maybe I need to have a look at that – but I need to get to 10 first.
‘I’ll look at it when I get to 10. I don’t want to jinx myself!’
Marc McNulty and Caolan Lavery are two new faces Stevens is intending to supply goalscoring chances for.
He feels they supplement a healthy amount of attacking intent in Pompey’s ranks.
But, forward-thinking quality or not, the Blues can’t afford to continue giving two-goal head starts to rivals, as they did on Saturday at Wycombe.
Stevens added: ‘We’ve got the two new lads in and they are going to bring us goals. They give us goals.
‘There are goals in the team.
‘There is Tubbsy (Matt Tubbs), Jayden Stockley is fit again, and (Adam) McGurk is back in the picture again.
‘It’s all there for us.
‘We’ve got a dressing room full of character and we know that we have that.
‘We’ve shown that, but we have to stop giving ourselves a mountain to climb.’