Nobody knew it at the time, but victory at Hull before Christmas proved to be Pompey’s final fixture of 2020.
An outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the squad saw matches against Swindon and Bristol Rovers postponed.
But a raft of suspensions elsewhere ensures that they will still finish 2020 in second spot in the League One standings.
And Kenny Jackett hopes the job can be completed in the new year after suffering more play-off heartache at the end of last season.
The Blues boss said: “It was extremely disappointing to lose on penalties. We had a good opportunity to get into the Championship.
“But the side have developed well and there are a lot of optimistic signs for the future that we can take confidence from.
“In my opinion, there are around 13 clubs that can win promotion and I’m pleased to say that we’re one of them.
"It’s important that the players remain determined to build on the competitive start we’ve made."
“You can’t go up by Christmas, but you can certainly be out of the picture, so we’re feeling positive, while still understanding the size of the challenge ahead.
“Now it’s important that the players remain determined to build on the competitive start we’ve made.
“They’ve performed very well at certain times this season and so it’s vital that we’re able to capitalise on that.
“We’re contenders for one of those promotion places and there’s an eagerness to pull together, maintain our focus and work hard to see it through.”
Pompey were able to welcome back 2,000 fans for games against Peterborough and Fleetwood in December.
But with the area since being moved into ‘Tier 4’, Fratton fixtures are currently required to take place behind closed doors.
Jackett said: “It was great for those two matches and the players really appreciated the backing they received.
“It’s disappointing that the virus has taken hold again, but hopefully it’s something that can change soon.
“The link between players and supporters is a key one and having people inside the ground can really help the side.”