Pompey's half-term report is in
The half-term report is in for Pompey.
And it’s not so much a case of must do better for the Blues – more like couldn’t have done much better.
Boxing Day’s victory over AFC Wimbledon saw Kenny Jackett’s men embark on the second half of the campaign with their first double over League One opposition.
It ensures just goal difference is separating them from the play-offs, with hopes they can end the year in the top six.
Let’s face it, very few people saw things looking so tidy for Pompey at this stage.
From Michael Eisner to Mark Catlin to Jackett to your mates up the Shepherds Crook, the rhetoric has been of stability.
As the curtain comes down on a year to remember, things are looking a little more upwardly mobile at this stage, however.
Okay, the Blues aren’t exactly doing a Shrewsbury and confounding the League One tipsters.
Nevertheless, not many people would have anticipated a run of eight wins from 10 fixtures at any stage of the season.
That came off the back of four losses on the bounce, and form previously to that which was of the topsy-turvy nature anticipated.
Flowing football against Fleetwood preceded Fratton disappointment against lowly Oldham in a win-loss-win-loss September.
That reflected the work in progress Pompey are, but Jackett has fashioned a winning run from stoic and sturdy footings.
Yes, there are a couple of Checkatrade Trophy wins in there, but Jackett’s men are currently going along at two points per game in the league.
We all know what kind of form that equates to.
The numbers make for encouraging reading, with five wins on the bounce at Fratton Park and 11 clean sheets racked up to date.
Tellingly, seven of the eight most recent victories have arrived by the odd goal. Not pretty, but pretty effective.
The Blues have still to beat any of the six sides above them in the table, however.
Wigan and Blackburn look the two standout teams, while Shrewsbury continue to surprise as they punctuate the pair. The rest, like most of the division, well drilled but hardly fear-inducing.
January’s transfer window, of course, will play a part in defining how Pompey’s end-of-term report reads.
There’d be few recriminations for not finishing top of the class, but the opportunity to move up a grade is presenting itself.
– JORDAN CROSS