Michael Appleton believes some Pompey fans are still getting to grips with the reality check of being in a League One scrap.
Reputations have counted for very little at Fratton Park this season, with Pompey’s colours already lowered by Oldham, Walsall and Swindon Town – traditionally smaller clubs.
But some supporters have optimistically clung on to Pompey’s stature in the hope of adjusting to their new surroundings – something Appleton is keen to distance himself from.
Asked if he felt some supporters were expecting to beat clubs based on Pompey’s reputation, Appleton replied: ‘Probably, but the sooner they get that out of their heads the better – and I mean that in the most respectful way.
‘The football club is in a dark, dark place at the minute and at the end of the day the main priority is just to stabilise.
‘Anything more than staying in this division is an absolute bonus.
‘I think we all realise that and I think the fans generally realise that, too.
‘But, obviously, there’s been some fantastic games and teams that have turned up at Fratton Park over the years and I think the sooner we all realise that every game is going to be a scrap, every point is going to be difficult, the sooner it will settle down.’
With the battle for ownership still dragging on and the club still in administration, Appleton remains hampered.
And he insists that an exit from administration will provide a welcome positive spark.
He explained: ‘I genuinely believe that once this club comes out of administration, it will be the biggest black cloud going away from the club and we can all start looking towards a brighter future.
‘It’s easy to dismiss what is going on off the field.
‘It’s more the timescale that is costing us. It has dragged on and dragged on for a serious length of time now.
‘It’s got to the point where some of the staff are finding it very difficult having constantly been in administration.
‘Coming out of administration would give everyone a huge, huge lift at the club – including the players.’
– STEVE WILSON