Deduction Dodgers?

24 March 2013 06:35
Can Pompey do enough to begin next season without the minus ten?

Saturday's win over Coventry got Pompey fans talking about an improbable escape from a points deduction next season if the team can avoid relegation on merit.

As it stands, Portsmouth are now five points from "safety" in League One with Oldham currently occupying 20th place in the table. However, the Latics have three games in hand on Pompey and therefore have an extra nine points to play for when there are only eighteen left to play for for Guy Whittingham's men.

Just how many points Oldham pick up is anyone's guess. They're a poor team but with the arrival of Lee Johnson they may be affected by "new manager syndrome" and go on a good run of form. Conversely, playing so many backlogged fixtures in a short space of time could be the catalyst for a losing streak.

Even so, it should be expected that they will pick up points from their games in hand and so it might be better to look at catching 19th placed Colchester but even they are nine points clear of Pompey and have a game in hand on us.

Also, Pompey's remaining six fixtures are not easy. Tranmere, Brentford and Sheffield United are all in the hunt for promotion while Preston have markedly improved under Simon Grayson.

The home game with Stevenage is probably the most winnable of the fixtures to come but Portsmouth are likely to be relegated before the final match of the season at Shrewsbury anyway.

Realistically, Pompey will have to win all of their remaining games to stand a half-decent chance of surviving League One on merit and thus avoiding a points deduction in League Two. Retrospectively, we might be cursing the fact Oldham took six points from us and Colchester took four when the dust settles and the league table is final.

If, or more likely, when, Pompey are relegated on merit some fans might point out that the points deduction is down to the discretion of the Football League and will hope that they show us some mercy.

Given how the other clubs would rightfully moan if Pompey weren't punished for screwing over creditors then we should forget about any decision being in our favour and hope that it is only the ten points deducted rather than the seventeen that Bournemouth got for a similar offence.

It all sounds grim and so to end this piece on a positive note.

Avoiding the points deduction will be extremely unlikely but should Whittingham and Awford stay on and be able to keep most of the players that have played their part in Pompey's recent resurgance then there is no reason why Portsmouth fans can't enjoy next season regardless of whatever penalty the Football League imposes.

Still, until Pompey's relegation is confirmed then we can continue hoping that Pompey keep winning and that Scunthorpe, Oldham and Colchester somehow all manage to implode and do not win any more games until the season ends.

Source: Fratton Faithful