How Portsmouth will bid to turn around slump with Derby County, Bolton Wanderers, Peterborough United & Co set to pounce

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Three teams can now overtake Pompey if they win their games in hand, while Oxford United and Barnsley can move to within a point of John Mousinho's side. Here's how the Blues boss aims to turn things around.

John Mousinho believes calm heads can arrest Pompey’s worrying drop in League One form.

But the Blues boss made it clear to his players the slump in results has to end now to stop the season falling apart.

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There are major worries among fans over the direction headed, following a run of just a single league win from seven fixtures. A run of three games away from Fratton Park are now on the horizon, with the long trip to struggling Fleetwood up next.

Mousinho is clear there are on-pitch issues which need addressing, but feels his team still find themselves in a strong position.

Pompey remain top of League One, but Peterborough and Derby can overtake by one point if they win their games in hand, with Barnsley and Oxford able to move within a single point of the Blues. It’s Bolton who have assumed the strong position, however, with Ian Evatt’s men two points behind - but having three games in hand on Mousinho’s men.

The Pompey boss feels it’s imperative his side now park recent events and do the work to get back to what put them in such a strong position.

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He said: ‘The form and what we’ve done in the past six or seven games is now irrelevant. We have to dust ourselves off and get back on the training pitch.

‘We have to solve some of the issues we’ve got. That’s all you can do, you have to stay as consistent as possible.

‘I would’ve liked things to be a lot smoother than this, especially where we were around Christmas. It hasn’t happened though and we’ve had a poor run of games, but we’ve still got a fantastic opportunity and we’re still top of the league.

‘We’ve got another game next weekend and a run of fixtures coming up. We’d back ourselves to beat any side when we’re firing properly on our day. The opposite goes though when we’re not performing though, we will get turned over.’

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While Mousinho is keeping emotions level within the Pompey camp, he feels it’s important not to overlook the reality of where his team now stand. He underlined that the recent downturn is not yet terminal for his side’s automatic promotion ambitions, but that may not be the case for much longer if things don’t improve.

Mousinho added: ‘This is a good test for us as this stage of the season. Everything feels like it’s the end of the world - it’s not.

‘We’re top and there’s everything still to play for with those 19 games, but as quickly as we can build a lead at the top and get ourselves there and be a good side, it can happen the other way. All of a sudden you can let it slip.

‘We’ve let our grasp go in the league over the past few weeks, but with 19 games to go we’re still in a good position. We have to make sure these results don’t happen again.’

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