Paul Cook is keen to stress that Pompey have not yet given up on securing automatic promotion.
But to have any chance to sneaking into the top three, they will have to win at Hartlepool on Saturday.
The Blues will also be looking for the sides above them to drop points, with Accrington, Oxford, Bristol Rovers and Plymouth playing away at Wycombe, Carlisle, York and Cambridge respectively this weekend.
Pools can finish no higher than their current position of 16th in the League Two table.
But they were in a battle against relegation when Craig Hignett replaced Ronnie Moore as manager back in February.
Back then United sat just one place above the drop zone and his tenure began with a home victory over Yeovil.
After four matches without a win, Hartlepool then won seven of the next 11 to climb away from danger.
They go into this weekend’s game on the back of successive defeats to Accrington and Oxford and travel to another promotion contender – Plymouth – on the final day.
Pompey romped to a convincing 4-0 victory when the sides met at Fratton Park just before Christmas.
They have never lost at Victoria Park, although four of their five visits there have ended all square – including goalless affairs in each of the past three seasons.
Paul Jones (thigh) has joined Pompey’s injury list, alongside Alex Bass (knee), Kyle Bennett (ankle), Matt Clarke (groin), Ryan Fulton (thigh), Marc McNulty (hamstring), Adam Webster (ankle) and Conor Wilkinson (groin).
It leaves Brian Murphy as the only fit goalkeeper, although Conor Chaplin and Jack Whatmough have both returned to fitness.
Hartlepool top scorer Billy Paynter has recovered from a hamstring problem, but keeper Peter Denton (knee) is sidelined.
Read what Paul Cook has to say about the game or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Adam Barton.
HEAD TO HEAD
Pompey: 6 Wins
Hartlepool: 1 Win
At Victoria Park
Pompey: 1 Win
Hartlepool: 0 Wins
Pompey 4 (Lavery, Jackson (og), Evans, McNulty)
December 12 2015
Pompey PlayerHD subscribers can listen to live online commentary from Victoria Park from 2pm on Saturday.