Form factor gives play-offs hope for Cotts

Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Pompey boss Steve Cotterill
Sylvain Deslandes could play at left-back if Dion Donohue is switched to midfield

Pompey boss encouraged by ‘good options’

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Steve Cotterill insisted Pompey’s ability to deliver trailblazing winning streaks has given him the faith the improbable play-off dream is still on.

The Blues’ countdown to the end of the campaign continues tonight as Coventry arrive at Fratton Park.

Saturday’s failure to defeat struggling Preston looked to have been the final nail in the coffin of Pompey’s hopes of making the top six.

But Cotterill is refusing to throw in the towel with six games remaining.

He admitted he would have given up all hope by now but his men’s ability to deliver amazing form means he still carries a conviction the play-offs aren’t just a pipedream.

Pompey delivered an outstanding run of 19 points from 21 last September and October and followed that up with six wins on the bounce in February and March.

Six wins out of six over the campaign’s finale would give Cotterill’s men a total of 73 points – enough to have made the play-offs in two of the last three seasons.

Cotterill said: ‘Not a lot has changed from Saturday for me.

‘We are going to turn up at every game. Of course, it’s still possible.

‘The reason it’s possible is we’ve done it before.

‘We’ve gone and won six games on the bounce.

‘If we’d been a team who hadn’t done that this season then I would say there’s no chance.

‘But we’ve proved we can do that.

‘We will need luck and we don’t need injuries or suspensions.

‘We will need the rub of the green with the officials we didn’t get at Reading and Preston but we are capable of doing it.’

Cotterill feels his men would have to deliver a 100-per-cent record to give themselves a prayer of making the top six.

He is also aware of the fact he is a leader for the club and can’t be seen to be giving up hope – especially with the stream of negativity afflicting Pompey in recent times.

Cotterill said: ‘We won’t treat the final six games any differently.

‘We probably would have needed to win six out of the last seven games to make it anyway.

‘It just means now we would probably need to win all six games.

‘We know that’s going to be difficult.

‘The trouble is, if we give up on it people will hear or read what I say.

‘So if I’d given up three or four games ago the players would have given up.

‘So, as manager, you can’t please everyone.

‘There are probably three or four sets of people you have to please – everyone above your head, the supporters and the playing staff.

‘You won’t please them all with your comments.

‘So you have to stay as positive and upbeat with your comments as possible and not say anything negative.

‘There has been enough negativity around Portsmouth Football Club.

‘So I have been trying to keep a positive spin on things.

‘So for us to get to 40 games on the board and people to still be talking about whether we can or can’t make the play-offs is an unbelievable achievement, considering what we had back in August.’