Ian Evatt wants high-flying Wanderers to make their mark at Fratton Park in front of the rest of League One and a national television audience, writes Pete Oliver.
Evatt’s in-form side takes on leaders Portsmouth in a top-of-the-table clash in a game broadcast live on Sky Sports on Monday night (KO 8pm).
Pompey currently lead the way in the promotion race but will be overtaken again in top spot by Wanderers if the Whites can take maximum points on the south coast.
Evatt’s men have won 10 of their last 11 games in all competitions and are playing the best football of his time in charge, according to the Whites’ boss.
And after back-to-back victories in cup competitions, Wanderers will be looking to extend their unbeaten seven-game run in the league which continued with a goalless draw at top-six rivals Oxford United last time out at the end of last month.
“That was a positive performance and we've taken confidence from that and into the cup fixtures,” said Evatt, named League One Manager of the Month for the second month running in November.
“Now it's back to the league and, as it stands right now, the toughest test of them all against the team that are ahead of us in the league table, albeit that has played a game more.
“It's a game both teams will be looking forward to. Both teams are in really good form. They have showed exceptional consistency for a significant period of time and we are playing probably the best football in my reign as manager, so it's a really good match-up.
“We know the league table isn't decided on Monday, but we can certainly lay a marker down and I think both teams will be doing all they can to make sure that happens.”
Evatt added: “It's going to be a really good advert for League One football. It's an opportunity for us to go and show the nation what we're about and show the nation what a good team we are, the things that we do and the way that we play.
“There's nothing to worry about or fear. We need to go there full of confidence and full of belief and show everybody what we're capable of and hopefully we can execute a good performance which gives us a great chance of winning the game.”
Portsmouth have lost only once in the league this season – a 4-0 reverse against Blackpool in their last home fixture – and have since chalked up successive away wins to re-claim top spot from Wanderers, while the Whites were engaged in FA Cup action.
John Mousinho’s men also boast the joint meanest defensive record in the division but will face a visiting line-up which has now scored more goals in a calendar year – currently totalling 106 after last Tuesday night’s 2-0 EFL Trophy win over Port Vale – than any other in Wanderers’ history.
“It is a phenomenal record,” said Evatt, who will be missing one member of his strikeforce at Fratton Park with Dan Nlundulu set for a lengthy spell out with a hamstring injury.
“There's no denying that. This club has been around for over 140 years and for us to be the team that breaks that record is amazing.
“But as I've said before, we're in this to create a legacy. We want to break these records, we want to create new levels and new bars for ourselves and will continue to work tirelessly hard to strive for that improvement we need to keep progressing up the English pyramid.”
Watch the manager’s pre-match interview on Wanderers TV HERE