Boss hoping for better against Rovers
Pompey will leapfrog their opponents and climb back into the play-off places with victory over Bristol Rovers this weekend.
But whatever the outcome, Paul Cook does not believe the game will define their campaign.
His side have collected just a single point from the past three League Two games to drop out of the top seven for the first time this season.
So Cook is looking for a much-improved display and result against the high-flying Pirates on Saturday.
The Blues boss said: “It was a disappointing and lacklustre performance last week, but you can’t be too negative.
“Finding consistency is the hardest part of the game and the last month has been littered with inconsistency.
“But the lads aren’t machines and you have no God-given right to win games – we’ve worked hard so we can produce a performance on Saturday.
“It’s a massively important match, but these days there’s a culture around ‘must-win games’.
“The reality is that we don’t know what the result will be – we might have a man sent off or hit the woodwork.
“But we must play well because if you do that then it goes a long way towards getting the result we all want.
“By the time 5pm comes along on Saturday, nothing will be decided – good or bad. But it’s still a game we desperately want to win.”
Cook must now decide whether to make changes from the side that were beaten by Leyton Orient last week.
He said: “Too many managers are influenced by what goes on off the pitch and things like social media.
“It’s not just about making changes for the sake of it. I’ll always manage the way I see fit and pick a team that I feel can go out and win the match.”
Pompey are facing a Rovers side who sit fifth in the table and are looking to win back-to-back promotions.
Cook said: “Momentum in football is everything and they stayed consistent with the manager after being relegated from the Football League.
“They had a fantastic season last year that culminated with a play-off final victory at Wembley and now they find themselves sitting in as lofty position in this division.
“They’re a good side with quality players and Darrell has done an excellent job there backed by very large support.”
Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for extended interviews with the manager and Ben Close.