Sheffield Wednesday’s cautionary tale as Portsmouth boss talks total to beat Derby County, Bolton Wanderers & Co to Championship

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Steve Evans thinks Pompey are ‘six or seven wins’ away from the Championship.

But Blues boss John Mousinho believes there’s a recent warning to his side when it comes to setting points targets to get promoted.

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Eyes are now being cast towards the finish line and the total required to win the race to the second tier, with Pompey still leading the way at the top of League One with 12 games to go.

Two points per game is the threshold often associated with success, which would see 92 points acquired in the 46 games at League One level.

But Mousinho pointed to Sheffield Wednesday having to go the play-off route last season, despite accruing 96 points, as Ipswich (98 points) and Plymouth (101 points) claimed the automatic berths.

The Pompey boss feels that shows potential flaws in setting specific points targets to go up.

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He said: ‘We genuinely don’t set a target. There’s always points totals that have got sides promoted in the past, and you can have a look at that.

‘I’m sure Sheffield Wednesday last season would have looked at it and said, if you’d offered them 96 points they would’ve jumped at that because it would have guaranteed them automatic promotion - but it didn’t.

‘You never know, you never know what is going to happen and things change really quickly - it can in a matter of weeks in the Football League.

‘So we have to concentrate on three points at the weekend and trying to get the next three over the line. That’s what is most important for us and looking at our own points total more than everybody else around us.’

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Despite Mousinho’s position on promotion points targets, he has used the threshold of two points per game to offer context to his side’s progress. That came into play as Pompey had a testing period of one win in six over Christmas.

Mousinho added: ‘Two points is a good thing to aim for and a good barometer of whether you are ahead of the curve or behind the curve.

‘Sometimes it’s a decent thing for perspective. When we went through that tough patch of games, the perspective we kept was we were at two points per game.

‘If we weren’t we managed to win to get us back up two points per game. We had 60 points at 30 games and have kicked on since then.

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‘I think it’s something which usually gets you in the top two, but it’s not guaranteed because we saw with Sheffield Wednesday last year.

‘It’s more of a measure to keep calm heads when things aren’t necessarily going your way.

You go through tricky patches in the season, pretty much all the sides in the league have done that. There’s tough results so you have to keep perspective. If you fall behind then 

‘The league is tough, there are no runaway sides. It’s a difficult league to compete in. We’ve seen sides in the bottom four really compete, we’ve struggled against some of them as have the top sides. You just don’t know what you are going to get - we haven’t had an easy game.’

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