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Portsmouth (A) match preview

1 February 2019

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Rovers are back in Sky Bet League One action when they travel to face Portsmouth on Saturday.

Rovers travel to the south coast off the back of a 2-1 win at home to Oldham Athletic in the Emirates FA Cup last weekend, with Ben Whiteman being the match winner at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Portsmouth come into this one having fallen from the top of the league during the last week, and they lost to new leaders Luton Town 3-2 away on Tuesday night.

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 2017 for an extra two years, taking his deal through to June 2021.

Jackett has overseen 93 games during his tenure at Fratton Park, winning 49, drawing 14 and losing 30, leaving him with a win percentage of 52.69 per cent.

Ones to watch

Brett Pitman

The striker was named captain by Kenny Jackett upon his arrival at Fratton Park in the summer of 2017. Pitman’s professional career began with AFC Bournemouth in 2005, going on to spend five years with the Cherries. Three years with Bristol City followed, before returning to the south coast with Bournemouth, initially on loan, before making the move permanent, and helping them to the Championship title in 2015, with the Cherries reaching the top flight for the first ever time. Pitman joined up with Pompey in July 2017 following two seasons with Ipswich Town, going on to score 24 goals in League One last season, coming second in the divisional goal-scoring chart.

Lee Brown

The left-back signed a two-year deal with Pompey following seven years with Bristol Rovers. After coming up through the youth system at Queens Park Rangers, Brown made just one appearance for the R’s, joining Hayes & Yeading United on loan, before his move to Bristol in 2011. With the Pirates, Brown would go on to make over 225 appearances, also being selected for the England C team whilst the Gas were in the Conference. Brown played a big part in the Pirates’ back-to-back promotions from the Conference up to League One, scoring the last-minute goal that saw them seal automatic promotion from League Two on the final day in 2016.

Gareth Evans

The experienced winger has made close to 500 career appearances and is now in his fourth season at Fratton Park. Evans made his professional debut with hometown club Macclesfield Town in League Two, going on to make 82 league appearances for the Silkmen, scoring 19 goals across two seasons. Spells in Yorkshire with Bradford City and Rotherham United followed, before three seasons with Fleetwood Town, being part of the side that won promotion to League One for the first ever time, alongside Matty Blair, in 2014. Evans joined Pompey in 2015, helping Pompey to the League Two title in 2017, scoring on the final day of that season in a 6-1 win over Cheltenham Town at home.

Who’s the ref?

Alan Young will be the man in the middle when the two sides meet at Fratton Park on Saturday, and you can read more about him here.

Last time out

Rovers and Pompey met on the final weekend of August earlier on this season, with the two sides playing out an eventful goalless draw at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Both sides had plenty of great chances to win the game, but it would be a nervy final 10 minutes or so for Rovers who were left with Ben Whiteman in goal following Marko Marosi’s red card for handball, with all three substitutions being made.

The midfielder-turned-stopper had just the one save to make from Ronan Curtis, but he managed to keep his one and only clean sheet in goal for Rovers.


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