COMMENT: Jordan Cross’ Pompey play-off verdict

Brett Pitman has been among those sidelined with injuries at key times. Picture: Joe Pepler

The tarot cards have spoken, the rune stones have foretold and the stars have aligned to reveal Pompey’s fate.

Well, let’s be honest, none of the above are needed to tell us Kenny Jackett’s men aren’t going to be making the play-offs this season.

The Blues boss has set the traditional 75-point target associated with hitting the top six as the required total to do so again this term.

History dictates any side reaching that landmark in the third tier will be safely ensconced in the end-of-season promotion jamboree.

In fact, you have to go back eight years for the last time someone needed north of that figure to do so, when Huddersfield finished in sixth on 80 points in 2009-10.

So, chances are, the total needed may well be a little short of that number, especially with the 53 points Plymouth currently sit on in the final play-off place in keeping with a lower total.

That’s one strand of the debate dealt with, now on to the likelihood of Jackett’s men getting there.

The apathy which exists among many supporters when play-off talk surfaces is entirely justified, no doubt.

It’s a stance borne out of what they’ve witnessed since the turn of the year.

Two wins from 11 fixtures is hardly conducive to generating the momentum needed.

Jackett has referenced impetus being able to quickly grow at clubs like Pompey and, of course, 10 title-delivering wins and a draw from 12 last term is concrete evidence that’s the case.

Does that really look like happening? Not for a second.

You won’t hear him use the excuse but Pompey’s manager has been shorn of key players at a crucial time.

It’s fair to say all seven of the players missing from the defeat to Blackpool would be in Jackett’s strongest side.

That number out would hurt any team and, along with the failure to land a combative midfielder on deadline day, there are mitigating factors when Pompey do fail to end the season with a flourish.

They are contributory factors to the side having a points-per-game rate of 0.8 since the turn of the year.

To hit the 75-point barrier, Pompey would need to steam along at 2.36 points per game for the rest of the season – significantly more than the two points per game which normally secures automatic promotion across a full campaign.

Even amid a rallying cry of sorts this week and talk of not letting the season peter out, Jackett’s rhetoric has referenced building towards next season.

That’s because it’s not going to happen this time around. And you don’t need a crystal ball to know that.

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