Boss looks ahead to Orient clash
It is a conundrum that Paul Cook is still trying to get his head around.
How can his Blues side be so vibrant in a 5-1 rout of Barnet and then so sloppy in defeat at Blackpool a few days later?
And they were undone by a sloppy start against Doncaster last weekend, with an improved second half display not enough to salvage any points.
So Cook knows that Pompey have to find a level of consistency in their performances if they want to challenge for promotion this season.
The Blues boss said: “The disappointment in our last league game was the lack of input in the first 20 minutes.
“Matches are normally formed in that period and – whether we start well or poorly – conceding in that time can have such a detrimental effect.
“We have to be a team that plays off the front foot like in the Crawley game or the Barnet one.
“At the moment it’s a case of what Pompey team is going to turn up because our inconsistency is the most consistent thing about us.
“There have been times when I’ve sat in the dug-out and thought ‘that’s how I want us to play’. But there have also been occasions when I haven’t recognised us.
“The highs are so high and people must wonder why we can’t keep that up, but maintaining those levels is the hardest thing in football.”
Next up for Pompey is a trip to London to face a Leyton Orient side who recently appointed Alberto Cavasin as their new manager.
Cook said: “I’m sure he’ll have his own ideas about the game and how it should be played, but he’ll be selecting from the same pool of players.
“He might tinker with formations, although people can focus too much on that. At the end of the day, it’s 11 v 11.”
Pompey received a blow during the week when Adam Buxton hobbled off with an ankle injured against Reading U23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Cook said: “We’re going to let it settle down because there’s a bit of bruising, but we don’t think it’s as bad as initially feared.
“His career here just hasn’t got going at the moment and just as he’s getting close to selection, there’s a setback.”
Watch Cook’s thoughts on the game below or subscribe to Pompey PlayerHD for full pre-match video content.