Pompey boss: Draws not behind missing out on automatic spots

Pompey boss Paul Cook with Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth

Pompey boss Paul Cook with Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth

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Pompey boss Paul Cook has shrugged off the significance of 15 draws in their struggle to reach the top three.

Instead he has pinpointed home defeats to Oxford United, Leyton Orient and Plymouth as decisive results.

Now eight points adrift of the automatic promotion spots, the Blues must focus on retaining a play-off position.

That begins tomorrow with the visit of Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe side who are five points behind and their closest threat.

Pompey’s inability to maintain a top-three push to the season’s end has been desperately disappointing.

But it remains their second-biggest points haul over the last 23 campaigns – and a highest since the 2002-03 promotion season.

Only Carlisle have drawn more games than the Blues this season, but Cook feels the damage has been done elsewhere.

He said: ‘The biggest disappointment with this season has been, when we’ve been good, we have been very good and offered our fans so much.

‘We have scored a lot of goals, we have conceded quite a low amount of goals, we have won away from home a lot, our margins have been very fine.

‘But we have had big defeats at home to Orient, Oxford and Plymouth – ones that are damaging.

‘The draws are irrelevant for me because if we would have won two out of those three games you would have knocked three points off some of those teams and be where you want to be.

‘So our inconsistency has been the key and is something we are looking at and genuinely doing something to try to address.

‘But I don’t like getting beat, I don’t like the thought other teams will get promoted before us, and I don’t like the thought of not doing what you were brought in to do.’