Interim boss Tommy Widdrington believes Bristol Rovers can compete with the very best in the division after their 3-1 win over Portsmouth.
Rovers sacked Paul Tisdale last week and victory over promotion-chasing Pompey ended an eight-game winless run and moved them three points clear of the relegation zone.
Jonah Ayunga’s double helped Rovers come from behind and Widdrington, who is Rovers’ director of football, believes the performance showed their potential.
“We had a clear plan to make this place a difficult place for teams to come to,” he said.
“Portsmouth are a very good side, if you finish above them you are likely to go up.
“We have proven we can compete with the best in the division. I have no doubt that we have enough in this building.
“If we can win more battles than we lose we will win games. It is 11 v 11 on the pitch, no matter who those players are.
“I’m gutted that we have not had fans here after this performance. The fans would have gone home delighted with that win, lose or draw.
“To a man, players and backroom staff, everyone deserves a pat on the back.
“I think clear planning, messages and trusting the players to produce can bring results. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make results happen.”
The visitors took a 26th minute lead after John Marquis got on the end of a Ryan Williams cross.
But Rovers showed spirit and levelled eight minutes later when Ayunga got past Sean Raggett before rifling home.
The Kenyan international put the hosts ahead with a well-hit volley a minute before the break.
Luke Leahy converted from the spot on 70 minutes after he had been tripped by Raggett.
Joe Day kept out a Marquis penalty six minutes into injury-time after the striker had been fouled by Alfie Kilgour.
Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett oversaw the defeat but is now set to miss an undetermined number of games to have a medical procedure.
Portsmouth assistant manager Joe Gallen admitted his side had suffered an off night.
“Conceding three goals is where we have lost it tonight, it is unlike us. Our away form is very good and conceding three gave us a lot to do to get a result,” he said.
“We had good chances in the first half but it is tough to take them all.
“We needed a bit of luck in the second half. We were unfortunate not to score in the second half and maybe get a draw out of it.
“It is tough to win games of football continually, your attitude has got to be right and your mentality has got to be right.
“We went to sleep at the back tonight a few times, but it is tough to be critical because our defenders have played exceptionally well all season.
“We overplayed in the defensive third and it cost us with their penalty. The lads did not stop trying but it was tough to get back into it then.
“We have had an off night. We will dust ourselves down and prepare for Saturday.”
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