Six games to go, two top-four teams to play and one wonderful goal at the end of it all. Portsmouth go into their remaining fixtures just five points off automatic promotion with a game in hand.
It all seemed unlikely after recent draws to the likes of Mansfield Town and Exeter City, plus that 3-0 loss to strugglers Newport County. However three wins on the bounce has seen the Blues in the mix of it all as the race for that final automatic promotion spot heats up.
One thing that could really benefit Paul Cook’s outfit in the run-in is the astonishing goal difference that has been built up and particularly enhanced over the past few weeks. Pompey kicked off the Easter weekend with a 4-0 thrashing of Notts County before seeing off Dagenham and Redbridge 4-1 at the weekend.
Their current goal difference stands at +31; third in the league behind top two Northampton Town and Oxford United, far out of sight from Accrington Stanley, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth Argyle, who occupy the third, fourth and fifth spots respectively.
Therefore this figure can effectively be seen as an additional point for Pompey since it seems highly unlikely that the teams they’re chasing are going to make up the goal difference gap between themselves and the Blues.
It must also be noted that, with Plymouth still to play, a win for Cook’s men would only increase the remarkable tally and hamper that of the Pilgrims, who presently sit just one place above Pompey.
Furthermore, the Fratton Faithful are going to have to sit tight for what looks to be a very tough run-in where the substantial goal difference may come into use.
The Blues still have to face both Plymouth, as mentioned, and recently promoted Northampton as well as face tough tests against AFC Wimbledon and Wycombe, the two teams directly below them. While these two both currently lie seven points off Portsmouth and don’t look as though they’ll catch up, they have a lot to play for and will be hungry for the all important three points.
Meanwhile, Bristol Rovers have four of the bottom five in their remaining fixtures and Accrington Stanley have just one more of the top-half teams in League Two left to face. Therefore this leaves Portsmouth pretty much needing to win all their remaining games if they are to have any hope of promotion. With goal difference as strong as it is, just one draw from Accrington would allow the Blues to take matters into their own hands and capitalise on the dropped point. However, it cannot be ignored that six wins out of six is a very big ask.
What is for sure is that we are in for a very interesting month and will be treated (if that’s the right word for it) to six cup finals between now and May 7. Play-offs are the realistic target at the moment, but there is a real buzz building around Fratton Park as tickets are selling out, wins are becoming emphatic and the belief for something quite special is starting to creep in.