Guy Whittingham has refused to give up on Pompey’s League One hopes as he told his beleaguered troops: We can still avoid relegation.
The Blues are back in action tonight as they host Notts County at Fratton Park as they bid to banish the memory of the depressing 3-1 home defeat to League One bottom club Hartlepool at the weekend.
With the club’s future still in the balance and a 10-point deduction still yet to be imposed by the Football League, many Pompey fans have already accepted League Two football is the best they can hope for next term.
But while Whittingham knows he is in the minority, he is insistent the club can still climb out of the League One relegation zone.
Whittingham said: ‘I still believe we can get out of trouble. Yes, I do.
‘All it needs is that one win.
‘People will laugh and say “that win doesn’t look like coming” but you have to keep believing it will and you have to keep working towards that.
‘That’s what we are all doing here. We are doing everything we can to win the game.
‘We feel we are preparing well and that it is a competitive side who are good enough to win games.’
The manager’s positive stance is admirable.
But the statistics do not make for happy reading.
The Blues are now without a win in 15 games in all competitions, with three draws and 12 defeats in that run.
It is also more than 100 days since Pompey tasted victory – a 3-1 success over Shrewsbury back in October of last year – while the latest reverse to Hartlepool was a fifth straight loss.
Whittingham said: ‘Some people are saying that we are already in League Two next season.
‘We are planning for all eventualities. We want players here who can play League One or League Two football.
‘But you have to keep your spirits up, you have to keep trying and you can’t feel down about it.
‘The opposition certainly won’t help you out.’
Some have suggested vital funds could be saved on player wages looking ahead to next season. But the Blues boss is not prepared to write this season off.
He said: ‘It’s not about saving the money. We work to the financial constraints we are given by the administrator and we will do that up until the end of the season.
‘You have to remain competitive. It’s not fair on the fans, it’s not fair on the players who are here and it’s not fair on the other clubs.’
And Whittingham believes supporters will see a very different Pompey side – if his men could get the mental lift of scoring the first goal in tonight’s clash.
He said: ‘I think it might be about getting that first goal – especially with the players we’ve got here now.
‘We’ve got some youngsters here and it would give everybody a huge boost if we could get that goal up.’