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Portsmouth (H) match preview

4 October 2019

Rovers return to the Keepmoat Stadium to take on Portsmouth in Sky Bet League One this weekend.

Darren Moore’s side earned a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Coventry City last time out, becoming the first side to take a point off the Sky Blues on home soil.

Portsmouth got back to winning ways with a 1-0 win over Bolton at Fratton Park, which was their first victory in six league games.

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.

Last season proved to be another successful one for the club, making it to the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-finals as well as lifting the EFL Trophy at Wembley following a penalty shootout victory over Sunderland.

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 128 games during his tenure at Fratton Park, winning 64, drawing 26 and losing 38, leaving him with a win ratio of 50 per cent.

Ones to watch

Paul Downing

A player that Rovers fans will know plenty about, he played 22 games in the second-half of last season while on loan at the Keepmoat Stadium before joining Pompey in the summer. After starting his career as a trainee at West Bromwich Albion, Downing spent four years at Walsall where he played almost 200 times before joining Blackburn Rovers in the summer of 2017 via a short stint at MK Dons. He played a key role in Rovers’ promotion to the Sky Bet Championship in his first season at the club, and is now looking to do the same with his new club at Fratton Park.

Ronan Curtis

The lively winger joined Portsmouth from League of Ireland outfit Derry City for an undisclosed fee in the summer of 2018. After a spell with Swedish side Ostersunds, the 23-year-old returned home to sign for Derry where he played in the Europa League and caught the eye of Pompey manager Kenny Jackett who was keen to secure his services.

 A Republic of Ireland U21 international, Curtis scored 12 goals in his first season at Fratton Park, helping the club to achieve a top six finish before defeat to Sunderland in the play-off semi-final.

Brett Pitman

An experienced striker, Pitman made his name during his first spell with AFC Bournemouth where he scored 62 goals in 197 appearances before joining Bristol City. He would go on to return to the Vitality Stadium in January 2013 before later signing for Ipswich Town. He spent two seasons at Portman Road before joining Portsmouth ahead of the 2017/18 campaign.

He was named as club captain upon signing, and went on to score 25 goals in his debut season at Fratton Park. His qualities have ensured his will be key to Pompey’s chances of pushing for promotion to the Championship.

Who’s the ref?

Andy Haines will be the man in charge when Rovers take on Portsmouth on Saturday, and you can find out more about him here.

Last time out

Rovers and Portsmouth played out a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park when the two sides last met back in February. Mallik Wilks had given Rovers a first-half lead after finishing off a quick counter attack, before Omar Bogle levelled the scores just after half-time to secure a point for the home side.

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