Steve Cotterill has revealed he can at last dare to dream about a positive future for Pompey as he hinted the play-offs may not yet be out of reach this season.
The Blues boss has steered his side to five straight wins and was targeting a sixth successive victory against Sheffield United at Fratton Park today.
Depending on results, Pompey could be just four points behind a place in the top six by this evening, with 11 games of the season to go.
While most would argue that a play-off place remains unlikely, Cotterill knows expectations have now shifted considerably from where they were a month ago.
He said: ‘I suppose life is made of dreams. We always dream about something or other.
‘Our supporters will be buoyant. It’s fantastic that their expectations now are to look up the table rather than looking over our shoulders.
‘That’s nice and puts us in good frame of mind at what is starting to become a healthy football club again.
‘It’s a happier and more relaxed place at this moment in time.’
It’s been a remarkable turnaround in recent weeks for Pompey.
Less than a month ago, the Blues were just two places above the relegation zone after a winless run that stretched back nine league games.
Aside from what transpires for the remainder of this term, Cotterill believes there are reasons to look ahead with optimism as the dark days of last season’s financial meltdown become an increasingly distant memory.
He explained: ‘It’s been tough – it certainly hasn’t been easy but it’s been worth it.
‘It’s a good club with good fans and even the other night it makes you think it is all worthwhile when they are chanting your name.
‘I suppose that is a little gauge of whether they like you or not.
‘But a lot of the big contracts are coming to the end now. We’ve almost been through the financial choking period.
‘That’s why it has been so hard for me to get other players in because of the money on top of what we are already paying.
‘So, hopefully, we can start again a little bit in the summer.
‘It’s not quite a blank canvas, but there is certainly some work to be done.’
While Cotterill will embark on rebuilding the squad again over the summer – effectively his fourth team in 12 months – he admits he cannot help taking a wistful look at what might have been this season had Pompey been able to bolster their squad in January.
He said: ‘You always think “what if” – especially where we are in the table now.
‘You do think “what if we could have done a little bit extra in the window?”
‘Imagine if we’d had what you would call a proper squad this season and we’d added those loans. I don’t think we would have been far away.
‘But I suppose you can’t look back on it now because we’ve got the rest of the season ahead.’