What the big difference would be for Portsmouth in the play-offs against likes of Blackpool, Peterborough, Sunderland, Charlton and Lincoln City this season
A 78-point return would be certain to earn Pompey a place in the play-offs.
And going into end-of-season shootout with optimism for the first time in recent campaigns could be a massive factor in the Blues delivering success this term.
The campaign has been re-energised under the Cowleys, with four wins in as many games since they succeeded Kenny Jackett.
That leaves the team on 64 points with eight games remaining, with Cross believing four wins and a draw or two will undoubtedly earn Pompey a top-six berth.
He said: ‘The average total for the play-offs for the past 20 years is 74.5, so that’s what you look at.
‘But Sunderland and Hull are going like a train, Peterborough are averaging two points a game since the new year.
‘So does the fact they are picking up so many points take away from the teams underneath?
‘Are the teams underneath, with the exception of Blackpool, showing the kind of form needed to push the total up. Does Lincoln dropping off bring the total down?
‘If you get four wins and a draw or two, maybe 77 or certainly 78 does it.
‘In terms of the top two, if they won every game between now and the end of the season they’d get 88 points.
‘I don’t even see that necessarily being enough, the way the top sides are going.’
If the play-offs are reached, Pompey would go into them looking to end a miserable winless run from eight fixtures in that environment.
After being wrecked by injury in the second leg against Plymouth in 2015 and then failing twice under Jackett, Cross can picture a different outlook under Cowley.
He said: ‘I can see Hull and Sunderland being the top the way things are going, leaving Pompey needing to beat a Peterborough or maybe a Blackpool in the play-offs.
‘It’s also what happens when we get to the play-offs, if we get there.
‘We should underline for the first time ever probably I’d go into the play-offs with some optimism.
‘That’s a key. I haven’t gone into the play-offs with optimism, certainly under Kenny Jackett and going back there’s that curse.
‘But actually going in with optimism could be a massive, massive factor.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
The News has launched a subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than 14p a day.
You can subscribe here to get the latest news from Fratton Park - and to support our local team of expert Pompey writers.