The advantage Portsmouth have over Sunderland, Blackpool, Lincoln and Oxford after missing the League One play-offs

The emotions of Sunday's meek defeat to Accrington remain raw.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:55 am

Despite Danny Cowley's appointment as permanent boss helping soften the blow somewhat, the fact Pompey have failed to make the top six when in the driving seat with a game remaining left fans frustrated given the limp performance they witnessed.

Certainly, when the play-offs begin next week and the Fratton faithful sit down to watch Sunderland, Lincoln, Blackpool and Oxford do battle for the final Championship spot up for grabs, they'll wish it was the Blues they were cheering on rather than watching as a neutral.

Instead, another season handcuffed to League One awaits. It'll be the fifth successive summer Pompey prepare to try to escape their third-tier shackles.

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But while we'd all like the Blues to be having another crack at the play-offs, even if the past two efforts ended with a whimper, there is one advantage not being involved.

And, no, it's not that supporters will have their aspirations shattered yet again after 180 minutes of lacklustreness which occurred over the past two years.

Instead, Pompey have a real opportunity to steal a march on their rivals during this period ahead of the summer transfer window.

All four sides involved in the play-offs will presently have tunnel vision on the Championship.

Pompey boss Danny Cowley's preparations for next season are under way. Picture: Joe Pepler

Talks of contract negotiations are likely to be put on hold while the fact quartet don't know what division they'll be in next term also means potential fresh faces can't move any further down the line.

In contrast, Pompey know they're preparing for League One. They know what players are realistic targets, what players will scoff at the third tier and what players are required to deliver promotion.

Cowley doesn't have to waste time holding out for a player who will only move to the south coast if Championship football is guaranteed. They’re already out of question.

The head coach can move through his list of targets drawn up for another crack at League One and aim to get the majority of business done in time for the first day of pre-season.

Pompey's retained list will soon be announced, prompting the summer overhaul to begin in earnest.

All the while, three of their promotion rivals of next season are still trying to reach the Championship but will fall short – and be behind in the recruitment scramble.