Paul Cook has told his Pompey players: Go through the 80-point barrier this season.
Pompey hit the halfway mark of the campaign bang on 40 points, added another one to the tally with the draw against Luton, and have the chance to bank three more at home to Crawley today (3pm).
If you get past 80 points, I don’t think anyone would have any complaintsPaul Cook
A total haul of 80 points would guarantee a place in the top seven, but in nine of the past 20 seasons that haul has been good enough for automatic promotion.
Cook’s Chesterfield side even claimed the League Two title in 2013-14 with a final tally of 84 points.
And with 22 games to go, the Blues boss has set his sights on 12 or 13 wins to achieve the promotion objective.
‘If you get past 80 points, I don’t think anyone would have any complaints,’ he said.
‘When we look back and we get more than 40 or 41 points over the second half of the season, the more we get beyond 80, the more things will take care of themselves.
‘We got 84 at Chesterfield to win the league.
‘If you look at Plymouth, for example, it is probably 10 wins that they need.
‘They have put themselves in a really good position.
‘But you have still got to win them. You don’t just turn up and win.
‘For ourselves, it is probably 12 or 13 wins.’
Cook is happy with his side’s form at the moment, even though the Christmas period saw them pick up just one point from two fixtures.
And he feels the club’s League Two rivals still see Pompey as a major threat, even though they are currently in fourth place in the table.
Cook said: ‘Sometimes you don’t get the rewards you deserve and I feel that has been the case over the Christmas period.
‘With so many games to go, there is plenty of time to hit a bit more momentum.
‘With the quality of players we’ve got and the support we have, most clubs will still be looking at us as one of the teams they fear.
‘I think that’s great credit to the players.
‘If we were top by four points, people would be saying we are already up.
‘But I think we are in a really good place because people don’t know what the final outcome will be.
‘I feel it is all in our hands and in very safe hands.’
Cook, however, does clearly feel Pompey should be in an even better position than they are.
‘You look back at the first game against Crawley and we felt Matty Tubbs scored a goal that was clearly onside,’ added the Blues manager.
‘That would have added another two points.
‘You can look back over a few games and think “imagine if that had been given or imagine if that happened”.
‘The most important thing is that we don’t imagine and we do something about it over the second half of the season.
‘But I think everything is achievable with the group of players we have.’