The hard truth former Wolves striker Don Goodman has delivered to Portsmouth as he sets club a minimum requirement at League One level

Sky Sports pundit Don Goodman has delivered some sobering words to Pompey fans by insisting automatic promotion this season is already gone.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 2:13 pm
Pompey's players have come under fire this season. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/

And continuing his frank assessment of the Blues’ underwhelming campaign to date, the former Wolves striker added a play-off place has to be the minimum requirement at this level each year – no matter the circumstances.

With 14 games of the season gone and Pompey currently occupying 16th place in the league table, Pompey fans will know for themselves that a top-two finish is already well beyond their grasp.

Indeed, they don’t need reminding that 14 points separate them from present leaders Plymouth when performances and results – bar the Sunderland win – stretching back to Shrewsbury on August 17 have not been good enough.

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Saturday’s display at Accrington and the team’s ability to come from behind to rescue a late point at the Wham Stadium represents a glimmer of hope.

But Goodman’s verdict will once again remind the Fratton faithful that this current Blues team is well off the pace when it comes to meeting expectations that exist here on the south coast and elsewhere around the division.

Speaking on the latest episode of the Sky Sports EFL Podcast, he said: ‘The pressure is on, if you’re Portsmouth in League One you are expected to be up there.

‘Now the top-two ship, that’s already sailed.

Former West Brom and Wolves striker Don Goodman now acts as a pundit for Sky Sports. Picture: Barrington Coombs/Getty Images for Soccerex

‘Clearly a play-off push was the aim of the Cowley brothers and was the aim of the hierarchy at Portsmouth, there is no getting away from what the ambition has to be if you’re Portsmouth in League One.’

Goodman said Pompey’s current plight and desire to finish in the top six this season is ‘nothing that a three or four game winning-run won’t put right’.

But emphasising where a club of the Blues’ standing should aim for each season at this level, he added: ‘I reiterate, when you’re Portsmouth in League One, at least a play-off spot has to be the aim.’

Since returning to the third tier for the 2017-18 season, Pompey have recorded two top-six finishes (2018-19 and 2019-20) but have failed to progress past the play-off semi-final stage on each occasion.

Last term's eighth-placed finish equalled that achieved on their first season back under Kenny Jackett and resulted in Danny Cowley’ overhauling the squad he inherited.

But despite an impressive start to this current league campaign, his new-look side have struggled for results over the past two months, with just one win recorded in 13 games in all competitions.

The Blues will hope to help turn that damning statistic around on Saturday when they play host to Bolton at Fratton Park.