'Is paying off' - Michael Eisner knows why Portsmouth's Championship ambitions can become reality amid battle with Derby and Bolton

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Pompey have spent seven seasons in League One under Michael Eisner's ownership - but are closing in on a return to the Championship

Michael Eisner has admitted Pompey ‘stretched’ themselves in the January transfer window to maintain their pursuit of League One glory.

But the Blues chairman insisted that’s okay whenever there’s total confidence in the ‘strategy’. And that’s something he’s fully committed to as he praised sporting director Rich Hughes’ role in getting the club into a position where a return to the Championship is a very realistic possibility.

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Pompey currently sit top of the League One standings and boast a six-point lead thanks to a seven-match unbeaten run that has produced six victories. That’s a significant turnaround following a forgettable festive period that stretched into mid-January. Indeed, John Mousinho’s side won just one of seven games in that time as the Fratton faithful feared the worst.

A busy second half of the January transfer window, though, coincided with a welcome upturn in results, with the arrivals of Myles Peart-Harris, Callum Lang, Tom McIntyre and Owen Moxon giving both the team and fan base a much-needed boost.

Eisner was asked about this late splurge in an interview he gave to the club during his most recent visit to Fratton Park last week, with four of Pompey’s five January signings - including Matt Macey - joining on permanent contracts.

Yet rather than focus on the costs involved, he placed emphasis on the strategy in place under Hughes. The American believes the club have finally got it right under the former Forest Green Rovers director of football and that everything is falling into place under his guidance.

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When asked how important it was for funds to be made available for a January recruitment drive, Eisner said: ‘Well, honestly, it’s not about the funds.

‘The strategy (is) about building for the future, as well as impressing the need to do well in the present. We want to get promoted, but most of the conversations (in January) were about strategy, not about costs.

‘If you have the right strategy, the right costs will follow. And I think last January’s window under Rich Hughes, last summer’s strategy under Rich and John (Mousinho), and this January’s strategy, I think, is proving us to be doing the right thing.

‘Rich Hughes spends a lot of time with his staff, when everybody else is working on today, he’s thinking about tomorrow and I think today is paying off because (of) that intense look at what is available, what do we need, what do we need for permanents, and what short-term loans would be effective?

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‘Once we have the strategy, then the question is: does it fit into our sustainability strategy? The answer is yes. This particular window, we stretched a little bit to keep ourselves up there at the top of the league. We’ll see (if we stay there). We have 12 more games - fingers crossed!’

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