Kenny Jackett wants his shot-shy Portsmouth side to rediscover their attacking edge when Sunderland visit Fratton Park.
Sunderland stopper Jon McLaughlin was barely tested at the Stadium of Light in the first leg of the League One play-off semi-final, the Black Cats running out 1-0 winners thanks to Chris Maguire’s stunning strike.
Pompey only managed two attempts on target and Jackett wants to see more intent in the final third when the two sides meet for the fifth time this season on Thursday night.
Jackett told the Portsmouth News: “For a few games, going forward we haven't necessarily been at our best.
“I do think we have been competitive and tough, all those things we were in Saturday's game.
“But, going forward as a side, have we been at our absolute maximum? Not necessarily.
“Are we capable of getting to that Thursday night? Yes, we will need that to win.
“I don’t think we have been poor defensively, but in attack we haven’t quite been as incisive or had those moments.
“You can offer excuses, but for three or four games we haven’t quite flowed going forward and we haven’t got in behind people.
“There are a number of games where we just haven’t had enough shots. That’s it, full stop, that’s the end product.
“Whichever way you do it, whether in one pass or 15 passes, you need to get shots in and create chances and going forward for three or four games I don’t think we’ve quite had the same flow and been at our best.
“Earlier in the season we’ve had spells defending and you still think one break and we could get a good chance. I have always had that feeling.
“Whereas now there is a lot of effort for us going forward, but it is tough to get shots in.”
Meanwhile, Jackett will make an early decision over the fitness of key Portsmouth duo Brett Pitman and Lee Brown.
Pitman (hamstring) and Brown (Achilles) both missed the first leg 1-0 first-leg defeat at the Stadium of Light.
They will be put through their paces at Pompey’s training ground this morning and Jackett has outlined why he will make an early decision.
He told the Portsmouth News: “Brett and Lee were running outside yesterday – the acid test as to whether they make it or not is today.
“They will be in around 8.30am, so we’ll see. We’ll build them up and then get into full training to see if they are okay.
“Hopefully they can both train and get themselves up for Thursday evening.
“I won’t leave either them later than today, I just want to organise the team.
“Sometimes, in certain situations, you wait until the morning of the game – but that won’t happen in either of these cases.
“If they come through training, I think they’ll be okay, both of them are experienced enough and we’ll know if they are capable.
“It’s hard to read. Is it looking yes or is it looking no? It’s really difficult to tell. Until they go flat out, you don’t know.
“We are hopeful, but we’ll see today. If you are looking for a clue from me, I haven’t got much of one.”