Jordan Cross looks at when Pompey could be on their way and lauds the serious graft at Hartlepool...
Countdown to the big day
The confidence has been growing for a few weeks.
And now the belief is on the brink of unwavering among players, staff and fans: Pompey are on their way.
The win at Carlisle bred confidence and the spectacle produced at Colchester convinced promotion was on the cards.
The Hartlepool performance showcased another dimension to the Blues’ game - the kind of steeliness all progressive sides need.
So, the fate of Paul Cook’s men remains in their hands with six games remaining.
Now thoughts turn to how many wins will be needed to get over the line, and when will the big day arrive.
Stevenage and, to an extent, Luton will have a big impact in deciding that.
Darren Sarll’s side have shown excellent form to leave them six points off the Blues.
Maintaining that would be some going, however, especially across a tricky run-in.
With superior goal difference, predictions vary from one to three more wins being needed to do the job.
The trip to Notts County or home clash with Cambridge look good bets to be P day.
Christian Burgess highlighted the clean sheet as the hardest-earned of Pompey’s campaign.
And the assessment wasn’t hyperbole as Paul Cook’s side had to put some serious graft in to collect their 19th shut out of the campaign in Saturday’s victory.
Hartlepool threw everything at the Blues in a first-half onslaught which seriously tested their mettle.
Dave Jones’ side may be struggling, but their home form is strong – and you can see why as they asked the questions of their guests.
Padraig Among has 13 goals to his name this season – more than any Pompey player – with Nathan Thomas and Lewis Alessandra on nine apiece.
All three caused problems as wave after wave of Pools attacks poured forward across the first 45 minutes.
But Pompey stood firm with both Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess furthering their burgeoning reputations with resilient showings.
Enda Stevens went close to nicking man-of-the-match from Kal Naismith with his performance at left-back.
And, in front of them, Danny Rose and Michael Doyle were Pompey’s dogs of wars, snarling and snapping into tackles and putting their feet in at just the right time.
That gave Cook’s men the platform to play a counter-attacking game with conviction after Kal Naismith’s opener.
It was a perfect place for the Blues to be, and, following Gary Roberts effort 15 minutes after the restart, the result was never in doubt.
That made a for a comfortable afternoon’s viewing built on Pompey’s defensive solidity.