PAUL COOK vowed he’s unconcerned about the widening gap to the top three.
And he warned the rivals above Pompey there’s no reward for being in the automatic-promotion slots at Christmas.
Cook has also dismissed the constant talk about formations and team selection as his side prepare to go to Newport County.
Pompey will be looking to shorten the seven points separating them from Doncaster and Carlisle as they travel to Rodney Parade on Boxing Day.
That opened up after Cook’s side were held to a 0-0 draw by Hartlepool at Fratton Park last time out.
There’s been plenty of talk about the Blues scarcely being able to let that distance become a chasm.
Cook admitted it’s going to be satisfying for their rivals to have a decent advantage as they approach the halfway point in the campaign.
But it counts for little at this stage.
Cook said: ‘The reality is you have the amount of points you have.
‘It’s short of where we want to be today.
‘But if we had the required amount of points to be top today we wouldn’t be promoted.
‘There’s so much football to be played. I just want to focus on the next game.
‘It’s boring but, come the end of the season, we all finish where we deserve.
‘Carlisle, Plymouth and Doncaster have the top spots at the minute.
‘There’s no guarantee those clubs will finish in them. If they do I’ll be the first to say well done – because they’ll deserve it. It’s football.
‘The campaign is 46 games. For any team to be top at Christmas is fantastic.
‘It’s a great feeling. Credit to those clubs. But they’re not promoted yet.’
Cook has already indicated he will have to sacrifice his footballing principles as Pompey prepare to clash with the Exiles on Monday.
The clamour from Pompey fans has been for two strikers to be used for much of the campaign, as Cook retains his 4-2-3-1 formation.
That’s continued after the latest frustration in the 0-0 home draw with Hartlepool last time out.
Cook is growing tired of entering into discussions on the topic.
He said: ‘We’re quite comfortable with how we manage and what we do.
‘But it’s the success of the club. That’s all our time here will be deemed on.
‘Debating tactics and formation is not my job.
‘We’re disappointed with our result against Hartlepool.
‘As a manager and people in general we all want to be popular. Those days are gone.
‘You have to do what you do and do your best for the club.
‘We’re still fourth no matter how much we speak about formations.
‘Teams will always be as good as your players. That’s the reality of this game.
‘Last year our final position was the play-offs. No one talks about the games.
‘We had some horrendous days at Chesterfield. In March we lost to Accrington and got dog’s abuse. That’s football.
‘If we are to be promoted this season – do you think people will talk about Hartlepool at home? Not a chance.’