Chris Wilder writes in Oxford United's matchday magazine
Although we know we had two poor results over Christmas it is important that everyone keeps things in perspective as we come into an important stage of the season. Obviously we had set those two Christmas games up to try and kick on, but we didn’t manage to do it and when that happens it would be easy to lose focus on where we actually are right now.
Against Plymouth we were the better side in the second half but a poor decision resulted in a penalty which knocked us back. I was OK with that performance, against a Plymouth side who have picked up some good results. Then we came up against Scunthorpe, the form team in the league at the moment. I will not get hysterical after that game - it was a poor second-half performance but we just stay focussed and keep believing in everything that we have done throughout the season. We failed to take two opportunities but you learn and you move on.
I sensed that the players would have loved an early opportunity to get those games out of their systems but we have had three games called off in a frustrating period and so today represents a chance to get ourselves going again against Portsmouth.
It shows how tough this league is when a club like Portsmouth can be struggling at the wrong end of the table. We didn’t get carried away after the first win of the season at their place just like we won’t get carried away after the last two games. Everything will be judged at the end of the season and we are still in a great position to move forward and challenge in the second half of the season.
The only way to fight off any negativity is to go and produce good performances on the pitch. Most fans just want to see us get back on track today and when the fixture list came out we all looked at the first game of the season and then this as stand out fixtures. Portsmouth have been unbelievably well supported all season and first and foremost will be looking to pull away from any immediate danger at the wrong end of the table. They will be hard to beat and it is up to us to take the initiative. They have good players and fantastic support from the stands but the game is set up nicely because we have taken great pride in being in that top three all season and having slipped out for the first time want to put that right. We have the characters in the side to do that.
Having had a couple of weeks off because of the weather one or two knocks have been rested. We would have been stretched over Christmas but we have had time to heal and when kick off comes today we will have prepared properly and have a team going out there to get us back to winning ways.