THE pre-season target of a play-off challenge appears doomed, certainly in the eyes of the vast majority of the Fratton faithful.
Lagging behind seventh spot by nine points with eight matches to go, it reflects a hopeless task as it heads towards another disappointing campaign.
I have been there, done that, also had relegation fights at clubs and know it is all to play forNyron Nosworthy
Not that newcomer Nyron Nosworthy is ready to concede defeat.
The veteran defender knows a thing or two about climbing the table, having won the Championship title with Sunderland back in 2006-07.
Admittedly, his time on the south coast has so far been brief, having arrived only last Thursday and being thrown in for a debut in Saturday’s disappointing 1-0 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.
Despite the play-off deficit in the League Two table, Nosworthy still possesses belief.
And he has called for Andy Awford’s men to start by focusing on beating Shrewsbury next weekend.
He said: ‘I would say it is touch and go for the play-offs.
‘If we had got a draw (at Wimbledon) it wouldn’t have been the worst result and wouldn’t have been the best but losing has dented the hopes and desires to get to the play-offs.
‘It’s not over until it is over, though
‘We can go on an unbeaten run from Saturday and then you see what happens.
‘In this position you don’t think about the fixtures ahead, instead you look at the forthcoming match, go out and win it and then move onto the next one. That is how it has to be.
‘When we got promoted at Sunderland we weren’t thinking about the next four or five games, we were going to steamroller this team, recover, recoup and then go again.
‘That is how you get the momentum, once you do you get that feeling everything seems to be going for you.
‘I remember going to Watford and they were in the bottom three in the Championship but you could tell the team as a whole didn’t deserve to be there.
‘We went from strength-to-strength and just missed out on the play-offs – but didn’t even look at the table.
‘It was a case of concentrating on what was in front of us, what the manager was asking from us, work hard and then you get your results.
‘I have been there, done that, also had relegation fights at clubs and know it is all to play for.
‘Sometimes you can get to where we are in mid-table and it can fizzle away but with nine points to make up you might as well go for it, there is nothing to lose.’
Regardless, of the Kingsmeadow defeat, Nosworthy has been impressed with the quality Awford has in his squad.
And he believes they should be positive in their approach for the visit of the second-placed Shrews.
He added: ‘It is a decent side. Winning gives you that feeling and all of a sudden your mentality changes and people are running extra hard.
‘We just have to keep going, let’s look at Shrewsbury and – being at home – the emphasis is on us to go for it.
‘There is no point trying to hold back and be overly tactical. Let’s go for it, run hard, work hard and you will get chances.
‘Then let’s see what happens.’