Accrington Stanley enter the final three games of the season hoping to boost their own place in the league while both their opponents have Play-Off hopes.
The Reds are currently in 12th place – six points off the top six – while they have to play seventh placed Portsmouth twice with eighth placed Charlton in between.
Danny Cowley’s Pompey make the trip to the Wham Stadium tomorrow night battling to get into the top six but they have stuttered of late as, after four league wins, they have won one of their last five games, losing three.
Reds boss John Coleman was boosted by the fightback at Sunderland on Saturday where his side were 2-0 down inside 11 minutes and were 3-2 behind on 83 minutes but came back to draw 3-3 with a late Sean McConville free kick.
“I was pleased the way we finished the game, I was disappointed we didn’t win,” said the Reds boss.
“But we have got to stop starts like we had – in two big away games at Peterborough and Sunderland, to concede two in the first ten minutes is not acceptable and we know we can defend much, much better than that and we have got to be capable of spotting danger a bit quicker.
“We weren’t at it for the first 20 minutes on Saturday. It’s ok saying we were better when we changed the system but that shouldn’t have to be the case. It’s 11 v 11 and for the first 20 minutes we weren’t at the races defensively as an 11.
“To win games at League One level, especially away from home, you have got to be at it full throttle for the full game, you can’t just play well in parts.
“In the second half, we were outstanding but we have shown time and time again against good teams we can play outstanding football. What we have to do is get this consistency in our game which has blighted us this season and made it difficult to get to where we believed we could.”
Colby Bishop scored his 11th goal of the season at the Stadium of Light while McConville’s free kick was his first goal in over 15 months after injury.
“It will do both Colby and Sean the world of good for their confidence but we have three games now and we will try and win all three but I want us to try and play better football for longer periods.
“Every team has struggled with consistency this season. Football results all over the divisions have been something of a lottery. We have to try and get consistency in our play and if you get that results tend to follow.”
Coleman admitted it is an unusual end to the campaign, playing Portsmouth twice, but his team are ready for the challenge.
“It’s unusual the way the fixtures have gone, we have a habit of playing Portsmouth on the final day, but as I said on Saturday, if you are grumbling against playing Portsmouth the last day of the season there is something wrong.
“What we have to do is we have to start on the front foot, the players know that, sometimes you have to give the opposition credit but we have to get away from silly mistakes and turnovers of possession in dangerous areas.”
With players on longer term contracts, Coleman admits the preparation for the next campaign is already underway.
“It has been a stop-start season but these players know the way we want to play, they are desperate to do well and they are a great set of people, hopefully having a year together already will stand us in good stead. I already have a list of targets for next season.”
There are no new injury worries for the Reds.
The full pre-match interview video with John Coleman is available to watch on the club's official YouTube channel, CLICK HERE to find out more!