It has been a testing couple of months for fans at Portsmouth as their hopes of automatic promotion this season were seemingly dashed following the club’s 2-1 defeat at Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
After initially leading the League One standings in December, Kenny Jackett’s side now found themselves eight points adrift of the top two places which are currently occupied by Luton Town and Barnsley following their disappointing loss at The Valley.
However, any despondency which may have been present following a run of just two wins in eleven games was not present during Pompey’s 3-2 win at Walsall on Tuesday. Brett Pitman’s penalty put them ahead before goals from Omar Bogle and Viv Solomon-Otabor saw Portsmouth cruise into a 3-0 lead.
After overcoming a nervy ending to the game set up by two late goals by Saddlers defender Jon Guthrie, Portsmouth held on to claim all three points and move within six of second-placed Barnsley.
With nine games to play, the prospect of achieving automatic promotion to the Championship is still an outside possibility for Jackett’s side, especially when you consider that they still have to face contenders Sunderland in the league. If they are to rescue their promotion push, they will also have to overcome tough fixtures against Coventry City and Peterborough United who are both enjoying successful campaigns in League One.
Even if the club do eventually miss out on a top two finish, they would undoubtedly benefit from a good end to the season as it would provide them with the momentum which is typically needed to succeed in the play-offs.
Although it is an almost impossible task, nine wins from nine would see Portsmouth finish on 95 points, a total which has guaranteed automatic promotion for each of the last ten seasons in England’s third tier of football. If they were to only achieve twenty points from a possible twenty-seven, it could still be enough for them to achieve their goal of a return to the Championship after seven years away.
With Jackett’s future at the club surely more than dependent on what happens at the end of the current campaign, Pompey’s results over the next two months could make or break their season.
What do you think Portsmouth fans? Is automatic promotion still a realistic prospect for your side? Or would you prefer a visit to Wembley Stadium if it guaranteed play-off success? Tell us your thoughts below.