SOL Campbell wants Southend United to keep things simple on his return to Portsmouth tonight.

Campbell has suffered back-to-back defeats in tough looking tests against Ipswich Town and Sunderland since taking charge.

But, after being encouraged by the displays, Campbell is keen to make another step forward this evening.

“We have to play a simple game,” said Campbell.

“We have to back each other up and not give them leg ups for no reason.

“We have to make them work for everything because that’s what it’s all about at Fratton Park.

“It’s about clearing our lines and starting to play football again in the right areas.

“That’s what I’ll be saying to the players because if we keep it simple we’ll get through this.”

The Shrimpers have triumphed just once so far this season.

But Campbell is still convinced his side can get out of trouble if they continue to improve.

“The main thing for me is that the performances have got a little bit more robust but that has to continue,” said Campbell.

“We’re showing signs that we’re getting fitter and starting to work out where you can play on the pitch and where you can’t.

“The lads are starting to see everyone needs to put a shift in and chip in to get the points we need to stay up.”

And, with that in mind, Campbell has opted to line-up with a 5-3-2 formation in both matches in charge.

“For me it’s about thickening up certain areas and freeing up certain players as well,” said Campbell.

“That’s key if we’re going to utilise their natural ability and have some cover here and there.

“We had to settle the whole team and get hold of a system we can learn quickly and play which is what we’ve done.”

Portsmouth head into tonight’s game sitting 15th in the League One standings.

But Kenny Jackett’s side, who reached the play-offs last season, have triumphed just once in their last six games.