Forget counting the days to Christmas, the unfortunate players and fans of Portsmouth are looking at the clock and agonisingly waiting for their 10-point deduction to kick in. It must be driving them mad.

It was confirmed this week that the South Coast club will definitely receive the penalty once they come out of administration, and I guess most people at Fratton Park expected it. Rules are rules, after all.

That doesn't mean it won't hit home to the players very soon, because when you wake up on a Sunday morning and see yourself stranded deep inside the relegation zone it doesn't make pleasant reading at all. You feel awful, you can't really relax.

That's why the next few months will be a huge test of character for Guy Whittingham and his squad. How they will react to being in the bottom four nobody knows, but the one positive is that they still have plenty of time to save themselves from relegation. Don't get me wrong, Pompey are up against it to beat the drop, but I wouldn't write them off as npower League 2 certainties just yet.

One other plus point to consider is that Portsmouth still exists as a football club. Back in July and August that wasn't guaranteed, so even if they do go down I'm sure all Pompey fans would rather be in the fourth tier than have no club at all.

It's altogether happier at the Matchroom Stadium at the moment because Leyton Orient have now won eight matches on the bounce.

Their match winner on Saturday was centre-forward Kevin Lisbie, who was up all night being sick on Friday, and wasn't going to play. By all accounts he insisted he would give it a go at Bury, and would you believe it he bagged both goals to make it seven goals in seven games for him.

As a player I sometimes played when I was ill but usually ended up regretting it. You don't want to miss out, so you say you're fine even when you're not, and then when you're out there and off colour, nobody else knows you're struggling for health. They just think you're having a shocker.

Medical staff at football clubs these days, tend to send players home right away if they report an illness, so I'm surprised Leyton Orient took a gamble on Lisbie, but I bet Russell Slade is mighty glad he did.

Remarkably, six of the Londoners' eight victories have come away from home. It's a stunning achievement for a team that were pretty poor a couple of months back.

Notts County also know what it takes to get results away from Meadow Lane, and they're now 21 matches unbeaten on their travels. That's almost an entire season's worth of games.

I've been there as a player and a manager when things click away from home and it gives you a lovely feeling. You're well organised, confident and without even trying too hard the formula you have seems to work week in, week out.

To be honest, I was quite a defensive manager when my teams played away. My mantra was that we'd set up to get a draw and that anything else would be a bonus. I know that won't please everyone and you'll call me boring but I really didn't want my team to be overly adventurous.

I'd tell my full-backs to get forward, but I'd urge them to do it with caution. I wanted them to get crosses in of course, but not by constantly overlapping the wingers and leaving us vulnerable to counter attacks.

When we weren't on home turf I needed my defenders to prioritise defending, and I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

I really feel for Coventry City this week. They are in debt with the owners of the Ricoh Arena and simply can't afford to carry on paying sky high rent at the stadium.

There's been a threat of a winding-up petition if they don't pay £1.1million by Boxing Day but I sincerely hope it doesn't come to that. Hopefully some sensible negotiations will take place to avert that course of action, because it's in nobody's interests for the Sky Blues to leave their home.

It's crazy to think that Coventry might soon have to play home games at Nene Park, the former home of Rushden and Diamonds.

Finally, I'd like to wish ex-Coventry City player Kevin Kilbane all the best in his retirement. He's been a great pro, and I hope he enjoys just as much success off the pitch as he did on it.