Cooper not giving up on survival

Shaun Cooper is refusing to give up on Pompey finishing outside of the drop zone this season Picture: Joe Pepler
Shaun Cooper is refusing to give up on Pompey finishing outside of the drop zone this season Picture: Joe Pepler

Shaun Cooper admitted climbing out of the League One relegation zone remains an achievable goal, despite Pompey’s goalless draw with Stevenage on Saturday.

The Fratton Park stalemate saw the Blues remain third from bottom in the table with 39 points.

But with those directly above them – Scunthorpe and Oldham – both going down to defeats at the weekend, Guy Whittingham’s side closed the gap between themselves and safety to just two points.

Pompey have three games left to claw their way out of the bottom four, although an impending 10-point administration deduction means they are destined to end up playing their football in League Two next season.

However, having the club’s future determined by league chiefs rather than results on the pitch remains a major motivating factor for Cooper and his team-mates.

And the on-loan defender believes that will be the case if the Blues can continue a run of form that has seen them go undefeated in their past five outings.

‘That’s the aim for everyone (to climb out of the relegation zone),’ said Cooper.

‘Everybody is desperate for that to happen

‘People are saying we are playing with our shackles off because we know we’re going down anyway, but it doesn’t really feel like that.

‘In our minds we’re still playing for survival.

‘Relegation, which is brought on us by the Football League isn’t the same as relegation brought on by ourselves.

‘So we will feel it is a massive achievement.

‘We will fight for survival in that sense – albeit it we do know that the 10 points will send us down.

‘But we’re desperate for that to happen.’

Cooper, who is on loan from Crawley, added confidence remained high in the Pompey camp, despite what many will consider to be two dropped points against Graham Westley’s Stevenage.

And with many of the Blues’ first-team feeling fresh after periods of inactivity with other clubs this season, he claimed everyone was fit for the challenge ahead between now and the end of the season.

‘I do think there’s still a case of a few of us being slightly behind in terms of fitness,’ said Cooper.

‘But the fitness staff at the club are doing everything to get us in shape.

‘And although some of us could get fitter, myself included, I think we’re fit enough.

‘We’re also more confident than what we were at the start of our time here.

‘But we don’t take anything for granted.

‘We go out there and apply ourselves properly.

‘And even if we’re not playing very well with the ball, one thing we will do is work hard.’