Feeling of March all over again as circuit breaker the last thing Portsmouth need

It's starting to feel like March all over again.

Tuesday, 22nd December 2020, 6:00 pm
Andy Cannon dejected after Pompey's 2-2 draw with Fleetwood in March - the final game before the lockdown period. Picture: Joe Pepler

A new strain of coronavirus is raging across the country, causing Christmas plans to be axed and more stringent measures being put in place.

As things stand at Pompey, Jack Whatmough and two other senior players have tested positive for Covid-19, plunging the Blues' festive fixture list into doubt.

If more test results come back positive, meetings with Swindon and Bristol Rovers are looking unlikely to go ahead.

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Kenny Jackett’s usually reluctant to call off games unless he has to. When players have been called up for international duty in the past, he’s normally quite happy for them go ahead as planned.

Yet with whispers of a circuit breaker potentially being introduced in football, Pompey would be powerless if one came in.

Should the upcoming fixtures be cancelled, then there will be a sense of déjà vu from nine months ago.

When the pandemic first ground football to a halt, it put paid to the momentum Pompey were building towards the business end of the 2019-20 season.

After a well-documented stuttering start, the Blues finally clambered their way into the automatic promotion hunt.

There was a club-record nine straight victories, a return to Wembley sealed and ever-growing belief among the squad the Blues could go all the way.

Granted, they were comprehensively beaten at Peterborough before drawing to another promotion rival in Fleetwood in their final game before the shutdown of the sport.

But in 2020, Pompey had won eight, drawn three and lost two of their 13 league. That was genuine top-two form.

Months of uncertainty ensued before the League One table was decided by an unweighted points-per-game formula.

However, the impetus the Blues had built had been derailed, nadiring in another meek play-off semi-final defeat to Oxford.

While the gap would be nowhere near as long this time around, it’ll still be an unwelcomed hiatus by those at Fratton Park

Pompey are happily ensconced in the top two after defeating Hull in front of the Sky Sports cameras last Friday night.

In the Blues’ past nine games, they’ve delivered five wins, three draws and suffered a solitary loss to Blackpool.

What makes it even more impressive was in that run there has been wins over promotion rivals Lincoln, Peterborough, Ipswich and most recently Hull.

Six points against Swindon and Bristol Rovers – who both langer in the lower echelons of the table – would be the minimum expected in Pompey’s next two games.

Instead, the Blues may be forced to lay dormant for a period and have to rebuild their burgeoining momentum.

In truth, a suspension of the season would be better than Pompey having to reluctantly put their feet up while many of their rivals continue as normal.

At least everyone would start back on an even keel.

But a pause of the campaign is the last thing the Blues will want.