PORTSMOUTH might be sailing on turbulent waters but the south coast club are not about to sink to the depths of the Football League without trace.
At least that’s the hope of their manager Guy Whittingham, who has overseen a mini-revival of sorts this month following a season to forget.
A winless run of 23 games that stretched from October to the beginning of this month, and a looming ten-point deduction, mean relegation to League Two has become inevitable for a club that lifted the FA Cup as recently as 2008.
Free-falling Pompey are said to be £61 million in debt, they have been in administration since February 2012 and have a date at the High Court next month to determine the club’s future.
But wins over Crewe and Bury, and the prospect of a takeover by the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, have at least provided the club’s suffering supporters with a glimmer of hope.
According to Whittingham those wins have also injected some much-needed confidence into the camp, along with one commodity that has been in short supply at Fratton Park for quite a while - hope.
“There is a real fight on to get us up that table and a little bit closer in points, so let’s just see,” said Whittingham.
“Everybody else looks at us and thinks ‘well, they are on minus-10 anyway and are going to be going down’.
“Well, let’s make one or two look around and think ‘perhaps they are not, perhaps we can’t rest on our laurels and think Pompey are one of the teams down and there are only three other spaces’.
“We need to keep fighting, we need to keep working hard and, most of all, we need to give our great fans a reason to keep coming.
“They have been fantastic so far.
“They have helped us through so much and now we are finally giving them something to smile about.
“Even if we did win every game between now and the end of the season, we’re presuming the minus-10 is still to come so we presume it will be difficult to stay up, he added.
“Confidence is big in football and it is one of the best players’ assets you can have.
“There is more of a spring in the step but performances overall have been better of late. I think the base of that was always there.
“We were always trying to be competitive in games and, if you look back at those games up until the end of January when we weren’t doing very well and losing a few.
“I think you could pinpoint individual mistakes through a lack of confidence.
“But it has slowly built back up.”
Portsmouth have used no fewer than 51 players this season after they were restricted to offering players one-month deals.
They have even set up their own house for players on the Pompey conveyor belt.
One player to stay at the house was former Rovers full back Mustapha Dumbuya, who was outed as a nifty chef by skipper Johnny Ertl this week.
“I miss Mussa (Dumbuya) because he had a coconut rice from Africa he would cook,” said Ertl.