Date: 27th February 2017 at 8:15pm
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Inconsistency has once again been a problem for Paul Cook’s Blue Army, with 2017 seeing four wins, three losses and a draw.

However, with seven games in the next 21 days, it is fundamental that Portsmouth find their form and put together a string of results.

With tough away trips coming up to the likes of promotion rivals Carlisle United and the game in hand now a fundamental three points in order to gain ground, will the Blues prevail and come away from the busy period any higher up the table?

Shoot! takes a look at the factors that could make the difference over the next few weeks…

It must be considered that there are a few new faces in the set-up at Fratton Park following the January transfer window, with a couple of departures also having an impact. The majority of fans were thrilled to see Cook bring in some fresh blood after recent results, however they do need time to settle and adapt.

Jamal Lowe is one who has come straight into the matchday squad, with his electric pace and terrifying runs troubling defenders already. His former Hampton & Richmond team-mate Nicke Kabamba has also joined up with the Pompey team, but has yet to feature in a first-team game for the Blues.

However, Eoin Doyle has got off to a fantastic start, opening his Pompey account in the 2-0 win over Blackpool.

While these new faces are having to adapt to the set-up, and old faces are getting used to them, there was also a couple of notable departures. Milan Lalkovic joining Ross County in the middle of the month came as a shock to most fans, after he looked like the club’s signing of the summer during the early weeks of the season.

Pompey boss Paul Cook.

The winger, who was playing League One football with Walsall last year, had featured 16 times for the Blues in the first-half of the campaign, one of which came just a week before his departure against Doncaster Rovers.

Michael Smith was the other player to go out on loan, this time to League One outfit Northampton Town, despite playing prominently throughout the season so far. Clearly liked by Cook, the striker made 21 appearances for Portsmouth, scoring six goals, including a hat-trick against Yeovil Town in the Football League Trophy.

However, the 25-year-old was given a tough time at Fratton Park, with fans not warming to him and his ability to hold the ball up. Smith will certainly be a loss for the side, who frequently pinged balls up-field to his 6ft 4in frame, but they will suddenly have to get used to playing without him in the push for promotion.

Finally, as if the Blues didn’t need any more change, first-team coach Ian Foster, who has been at the club since Cook took over the realm in 2015, has landed another job with The FA.

Rumours started when the 40-year-old did not carry out his regular role of overseeing the reserves, who won at Wolves in the Under-23 Premier League Cup earlier in the month. Despite the former Coventry City development coach holding talks with the club, a decision was soon confirmed and Foster left his position at Portsmouth, certainly throwing a spanner in the works of what was a very tight backroom staff unit.

With no easy games in League Two, the Blues will be hoping to find their form just at the right time and climb back up that table across the course of the next 18 cup finals.

 
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