Football FanCast columnist Richard Marsh feels that Portsmouth have shown enough to suggest they’ll get themselves out of the mess they currently find themselves in.
Portsmouth may well be rooted to the bottom of the Premiership table on just seven points, and they may just have had a manager switch, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest it is still very possible for Pompey to still escape the drop this season.
The 4-0 win against Stoke in the Carling Cup seems to have given the side a shot in the arm, as they followed that match up with a second 4-0 win at home to Wigan.
Three defeats have followed that win, away at Blackburn and Stoke, and at home to Manchester United, but the performances of the south coast side have merited better than the three losses.
Only a tactical master stroke by Sam Allardyce gave Blackburn the win as he threw on Jason Roberts and Benni McCarthy to win 3-1. Against Stoke, Portsmouth dominated throughout, creating chance after chance, but lacking that quality edge to take those chances.
Their cause was not helped by one of their best performers so far, Kevin-Prince Boating, missing a penalty early on that would have changed the whole complexion of the game.
Stoke created little, but crucially took one of their few chances, Ricardo Fuller tucking away a fine move. It summed up Portsmouth, plenty of creating ability, but no quality striker to finish. Goals win you points, and Portsmouth are not scoring enough.
Against Man United, Portsmouth could have been 2-0 up before Rooney slotted home his penalty, with Piquionne and Dindane being particularly wasteful.
The promise is there, the potential is there, it is now a matter of making every opportunity count, and new boss Avram Grant will undoubtedly do everything he can to ensure that.
Portsmouth can do it, they can stay up, there are teams above who are not that much better than them, Wolves, Hull, and Birmingham for example.
A couple of loan deals in January could be just what Portsmouth need, and with Grant in charge instead of Paul Hart, that looks more likely. Grant is a bigger name than Hart, not just in England, but also in Europe, and he could well bring in a couple new faces to boost Portsmouth’s cause.
Hart did a good job at Portsmouth, tried to keep things calm and stable, but Grant will sharpen the side up, give them a wakeup call and make them work for their Premiership status.
The last five games or so have seen Portsmouth show they can compete, they have been slightly unlucky and been very much punished for not taking their chances.
Burnley on Saturday is a must win game, Grant will know that and will be telling his side to take every chance they get, as tricky games to Sunderland and Chelsea, and at home to Liverpool follow.
Portsmouth will probably be bottom at Christmas, the dreaded Christmas curse of the Premiership’s bottom side. But it is not all over for Portsmouth by any means, they have good players in O’Hara, Kaboul, James, Kanu amongst others. Add a few new faces to this in January, and they have every chance for survival.