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Portsmouth match preview

24 August 2018

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Rovers play their second home game in a row on Saturday when they host Portsmouth at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Rovers hosted Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night, with both goalkeepers keeping either side at bay, with neither Rovers or the Shrews able to find a break-through in Sky Bet League One.

Rovers have enjoyed playing against Pompey in recent times, winning four and drawing two in the last six encounters between the two sides.

Brief history of Portsmouth FC

Portsmouth play at the 20,620-capacity Fratton Park stadium, which has been their home since 1899.

Their nickname is Pompey which comes from its common association with the city itself, as well as the Royal Navy base located in the city, both shortened to Pompey well before the founding of the football club.

Pompey won the FA Cup in 2008, defeating then-Championship side Cardiff City at Wembley Stadium thanks to Nwankwo Kanu’s 37th-minute goal the difference between the two sides. The fixture was also notable for holding the record for the highest attendance for an FA Cup final at the new stadium, with 89,874 fans in attendance for Pompey’s second FA Cup victory.

Pompey returned to League One after four years away in 2017, winning the League Two title on the final day of the 2016/17 season after a 6-1 win at home to Cheltenham Town, sealing promotion alongside Rovers from the fourth tier.

Who’s the gaffer?

Kenny Jackett is the man tasked with returning Pompey to the second tier for the first time since 2012, signing a two-year deal in June 2017. His contract was extended in November for an extra two years, taking his deal through to June 2021, and he will be looking to give the fans something to cheer come the end of the season having guided Pompey to four league wins from four so far.

Ones to watch

Ronan Curtis

The young Irishman signed for Pompey over the summer, joining from Irish side Derry City. Curtis has started life on the south coast brightly, scoring three times in four games, with a brace away at Blackpool, followed by a late winner at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night in Pompey’s 2-1 win, their fourth win from four in the league so far.

Jamal Lowe

The forward man is in his second full season with Pompey after joining half-way through the 2016/17 season from non-league side Hampton & Richmond. Like Curtis, Lowe has scored three times in four games in the league so far, scoring Pompey’s first goal of the season on the opening day against Luton Town, before scoring twice in their 4-1 win over Oxford United last weekend.

Christian Burgess

The central defender signed from Peterborough United in 2015 and has gone on to be crucial figure in the Pompey back-line. Burgess was named alongside Rovers men John Marquis and James Coppinger in the 2016/17 League Two Team of the Year following Pompey’s title-winning exploits. Burgess has made over 125 appearances for Pompey since his arrival, and he is now hoping to be part of another successful season on the south coast as he enters his fourth campaign at Fratton Park.

Who’s the ref?

Andy Haines will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet on Saturday. He has officiated four games in league and cup competitions this season, dishing out 10 yellow cards, but he is yet to brandish a red so far this campaign.

His last game in charge of Rovers came in January 2018 at the Keepmoat Stadium, in a 1-1 draw with Plymouth Argyle in League One, and his last game in charge of Pompey came towards the end of last season as they lost 1-0 away to Bury in April.

He will be joined by assistant referees Duncan Street and Ian Dudley, as well as fourth official Lee Freeman.

Last time out

Rovers last meeting with Pompey came at Fratton Park back in early February in an entertaining game down on the south coast. James Coppinger put Rovers in front early on, before Anton Walkes equalised for the hosts. John Marquis put Rovers back in front in the second half, before Brett Pitman drew Pompey level with nine minutes to go. Pompey would finish with nine men as goalkeeper Stephen Henderson went off injured, and with all substitutions made, Kal Naismith was left to go in goal, whilst Burgess would be sent off for a second yellow in injury time.

Rovers defeated Pompey earlier on in the season, with goals from Liam Mandeville and a Burgess own-goal putting Rovers two up inside five minutes. A bizarre own-goal from Mathieu Baudry saw Pompey pull one back, but Rovers held on against the visitors, who would finish with 10 men following Dion Donohue’s dismissal.

Tickets for Saturday’s Sky Bet League One fixture with Portsmouth are still available via the Club Doncaster Box Office. Purchase yours now either in-store, by calling on 01302 762576, or online at

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