Pompey have been told to stand up to the expectation of delivering at Fratton Park as they gear up for a home double-header.
Michael Appleton believes the Blues have struggled to get to grips with performing on their own patch this season – and the demands that come with it.
Pompey have lost four of the seven matches they’ve played at home so far this campaign.
Appleton reckons opposing sides are raising their game when they come to town because of Pompey’s standing in the game.
The 36-year-old has told his players it’s up to them to deal with that if they are to continue their upwardly-mobile league form.
Crewe arrive at Fratton Park today ahead of a visit from Shrewsbury next weekend.
Appleton has challenged his players to come to terms with playing in front of their own fans – starting this afternoon.
He said: ‘Our home form is going to be crucial.
‘It hasn’t been great this year.
‘The players have struggled slightly to deal with the expectations which come from playing for Portsmouth.
‘We’ve spoken about it to the players. I think from a freedom point of view the opposition enjoy coming here.
‘They take the shackles off and go and enjoy it.
‘It’s a big pitch, great surface and the atmosphere is great.
‘I remember in my playing days I used to love to go away and play at the bigger clubs.
‘Most of the managers I speak to say that’s the best they’ve played when they come here.
‘The first time you think “fair enough”, but it’s every manager I speak to.
‘We’re going to get that and we have to get to grips with that. We have in the past few games but a poor start on Tuesday cost us.’