Verdict: Portsmouth need to reverse slump and aim for two points per game to get automatic promotion

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Pompey need to average two points a game if they are to achieve automatic promotion.

That’s the verdict of Pompey writer Jordan Cross, who believes 90 points is the benchmark to claim a place in League One’s top two this season.

Nathan Thompson and his Pompey team-mates leave the pitch at Plymouth Picture: Joe Pepler

Nathan Thompson and his Pompey team-mates leave the pitch at Plymouth Picture: Joe Pepler

Since the 2000-01 campaign, 15 of the division’s champions have equalled or exceeded the 90-point mark.

Meanwhile, in six of those seasons, both the winners and runners-up have required 90-plus points to go up to the Championship – including both Wigan (98) and Blackburn (96) last term.

At present, the Blues sit third in the table with 59 points from 31 games.

Three points separate them from second-placed Barnsley (62), while leaders Luton are nine points ahead (68) with an extra game played.

Pompey have their work cut out if they are to eat into those advantages.

And let's not forget fourth-placed Sunderland (57) can leapfrog Kenny Jackett’s side if they win any of their two games in hand – starting against Blackpool tomorrow night.

At this stage, however, all Pompey can do is concentrate on themselves and attempt to reverse the form that sees them without a League One win since New Year’s Day.

And if Jackett’s much-changed squad can do that between now and the end of the season, Cross believes they’ll need at lest two points from each of their remaining 15 games to claim one of two automatic promotion places.

Speaking in the latest edition of Pompey Tal (see video attached), Cross said: 'In isolation, it was a decent point (against Plymouth), but you've got to look at the context, which is the recent form is poor.

'That shapes the result somewhat and. off course, with the fact that Sunderland play tomorrow night, they can go above Pompey and that's another place dropped down the table.

'The wider picture means they desperately need to win, they need to hit form, they need two points a game really for the rest of the season to get up and around 90 points, which you associate with promotion.

'Will that be enough? I'm not sure.

'Do Pompey look like they're going to do it at the moment? Probably not.

'But they have to find a formula quickly and settle this new team down now. and really start finding the answers.

'That's the challenge that Kenny Jackett and his side face.'