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Portsmouth FC Season Preview: How will the Blues fare in League One?

Focus will be placed firmly on avoiding relegation this season and building from there

Since securing the League Two crown on May 6th 2017, with a massive 6-1 win over Cheltenham at Fratton Park, Portsmouth have looked forward to life back in League One. Since their arrival however, life hasn’t been completely rosy for Pompey as new boss Kenny Jackett took over the Fratton hotseat after Paul Cook left to take charge of Wigan Athletic. Since taking over on June 2nd with a two-year contract, Jackett has enjoyed a good preseason, followed by a tricky start to life back in League One.

Preseason was important for Portsmouth to get off the mark, ensuring that they strengthened in key areas to improve the squad ready for the start of the new season after winning League Two. Strengthening in all areas satisfactorily, Jackett brought in several players throughout the preseason. 25-year old striker Oliver Hawkins joined on a three-year deal from Dagenham and Redbridge after netting 18 goals for the Daggers last season. Cardiff midfielders Stuart O’Keefe and Matty Kennedy joined on loan for the season, whilst Burton Albion’s left back Damien McCrory joins until January.

“After a bright start to the season, Jackett’s Pompey have endured a less-than-ideal second half of August.”

After a semi-successful preseason, following wins against Havant & Waterlooville, Salisbury, Poole, Bognor Regis and Newport, Kenny Jackett and his Portsmouth team were gearing up for their first test against League One opposition in Rochdale. But before the beginning of the new season could arrive, Jackett decided to test his new-look Portsmouth side against slightly tougher opponents in Premier League side Bournemouth and League Two side Crawley Town. Both games ended 2-1, with Portsmouth winning against Crawley and losing against Bournemouth. Whilst the loss against Bournemouth was to be expected, Jackett took the positives from beating a team they had played last year in preparation for their opening League One fixture against Rochdale.

The season got off to a flyer for Portsmouth, with another new signing, Brett Pitman from Ipswich Town, putting two past Rochdale on the opening day to secure their first three points back in League One. A defeat to Cardiff in the Carabao Cup meant an early exit for Pompey, which was followed by a string of stagnant results. A 2-1 defeat to Oxford, a penalty loss to Fulham in the Checkatrade Trophy, and two consecutive 1-1 draws against Walsall and Wigan Athletic, the latter now managed by former manager Paul Cook, meant that Portsmouth ended August with 5 points from 3 games, and out of two cup competitions. During the international break for the Premier League and Championship teams, Portsmouth took on Rotherham in a mid-table clash. Despite a late flurry of attempts barraging Rotherham’s goal, Portsmouth eventually succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Fratton Park, leaving them with 5 points from their first 4 games.

After a bright start to the season, Jackett’s Pompey have endured a less-than-ideal second half of August. Portsmouth fans will be hoping that their side can pick up some better results in September. Hopefully as the excitement of the season’s opening weeks wane, Portsmouth can begin to settle into a more promising rhythm.

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