Can Pompey Really Push For Promotion?

Steve Cotterill mentioned yesterday that Pompey's aim this season is a top six finish, but is that target realistically attainable or has the recent run of form got to his head?

The facts are that Portsmouth currently lie in 13th place in the Championship with 18 points from 13 games played. Pompey are just 3 points away from a play-off place and are 7 points clear of the relegation zone.

After a disastrous start to the season, Steve Cotterill's men are currently top of the Championship "form table" having taken 16 points from the last 18 available, scoring 16 goals in the last six games and conceding 7.

This superb run of form has got the optimists believing a promotion push isn't out of the question now that a quarter of the season has been played. However, this is a long campaign and Pompey's miniscule squad will be tested to the limit when the Christmas fixtures arrive.

You could also argue that the run in form we've had has coincided with playing some poor opposition. Leicester and Bristol City were down at the bottom with us when we played them and Middlesbrough weren't that much further ahead either.

Millwall hadn't won at home for a long time when we played them at The Den and Hull were also struggling for form when we played them last Saturday. A cynic would argue that Watford were the only good team we have beaten in our resurgent run of excellent form.

Despite the recent run of results and the players we have in the squad, I wouldn't consider ourselves genuine promotion contenders yet but a team with an outside chance of going up, which could be said for well over half of the teams in the Championship.

I think the results of our next three games could change my mind if we come out of them still unbeaten and with 7 or 9 points to our name.

Forest have come into some form themselves and should be difficult opponents, it'll be interesting to see if we can win at Pride Park in front of the Sky cameras against a Derby side who've been strong at home this season and then the following Tuesday we will face one of our toughest home games of the season as QPR come to Fratton Park.

If Pompey can come out of those three games in the top six then I'd think we'd have a good shot at promotion, but how likely promotion will be will also depend on what happens in January. If we sell the likes of Nugent and Utaka then we can forget it and in honesty, we'll probably need a few fresh faces to beef up the squad too.

Of course, the reward for promotion is a season in the Premier League, the league many Pompey fans have been slating since last year.

If you ask Pompey fans if they're happy with the club staying in the Championship then many will say "yes" and cite that it's a more competitive league without the daunting fixtures and prima donnas that have gone some way to "ruining the game".

I do wonder, though, if these fans would have been of the same opinion after the most terrible defeat at Preston earlier this season or the 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Crystal Palace. Just because we're doing well now, it doesn't mean that we won't suffer more embarrassing defeats later in the campaign.

Not only that, but if we were to return to the top flight, we'd have the opportunity to beat the likes of Manchester United and Liverpool again like we used to "back in the day" and it would be much easier for our overseas fans to follow the club again.

Then there's the financial incentive to get promoted too. £60 million would do so much for the future of the club if invested wisely and although there would be a possibility that Pompey would become the Premier League whipping boys, it might be worth it if it meant the club were on a secure financial footing.

I'm obviously getting well ahead of myself here and I think our manager might be too with his most recent claim. Let's just take one game a time, shall we, Steve?