Portsmouth are set to spend a sixth straight season in League One when the 2022-23 campaign rolls around after their play-off challenge faded in recent weeks.
An eight match unbeaten run which started in February put Pompey back in contention for the top six, however five games without a win which included losses to Plymouth and Cheltenham have put them in an almost impossible position.
Mathematically it can still be done, but Danny Cowley will perhaps be resigned to yet another year in the third tier, with the 2021-22 season being his first full one at the helm.
Quiz: What club do these 24 players from the Portsmouth 2016/17 squad play for now?
Even though the season is not finished just yet, let’s look at one clear winner and loser from the current campaign.
WINNER: Gavin Bazunu
Several Pompey players have enhanced their reputations this season and potentially put themselves in the shop window for moves this summer – Marcus Harness is the first name that comes to mind here – but in Bazunu there is a goalkeeper who is destined for big things in the world of football.
Pompey were able to strike a deal with Manchester City to bring the young stopper to Fratton Park for the season after he impressed for Rochdale last season in his first EFL loan spell.
Bazunu has put in some spell-binding performances for Portsmouth – perhaps to the level that you’d expect of a full Republic of Ireland international – but you’d imagine that there’s no chance that the club will get him back for another season.
The 20-year-old is destined for a loan move to the Championship or perhaps either the lower reaches of the Premier League or a top flight league overseas – whoever replaces him next season will have big boots to fill.
LOSER: Danny Cowley
There haven’t been too many majorly disappointing players who remain at Fratton Park this season – John Marquis perhaps underperformed in the first half of the campaign but he was subsequently shipped off to Lincoln City.
The one disappointing figure at the club may very well be Cowley, who was a promotion expert with both Concord Rangers and Lincoln City but as of yet has not been able to work his magic with Pompey.
Considering their squad of players looks pretty strong on paper for League One, it must be classed as an underachievement should Portsmouth not make the play-offs – which is very likely now.
It appears that he will get more time to achieve his goal though, with work very much underway behind the scenes to build a squad for next season – however if they aren’t in a promotion battle in 2022-23 then Cowley’s future could be bleak.