How are they doing?

Portsmouth are one of the big hitters in League 1.  Averaging home gates of over 18,000 this season, Portsmouth fans are clearly hopeful of a good campaign.

The early season signs were very good.  6 wins and 2 draws in their first 8 games put Pompey top of the league.  There has been a little slippage in their last 4 games – 2 draws and 2 defeats, most recently a 3-0 away loss at Charlton on Monday this week.  Pompey also had a man sent off in the game.

In spite of recent setbacks, Pompey are 5th in the division.  However, they have 2 games in hand over all the teams above them and, if they can win these games in hand, they will stay in touch with the leading 3 of Sheffield Wednesday, Plymouth & Ipswich.

Last season, Portsmouth never really recovered from early season losses.  In spite of a strong finish to last season, they finished 10th in the league, 10 points short of the play-off places.

This is the first time the 2 sides will have played each other in any league.

Pompey have played in football’s top tier and have won it twice (in 1949 and 1950)!  They have also won 2 FA Cups, 1 Community Shield & 1 EFL Trophy.  This is a club with an illustrious history.

Who to look out for?

Portsmouth are a pretty free-scoring team, averaging almost 2 goals a game so far this season.

One of the keys to this has been the form of their summer signing of Colby Bishop from Accrington Stanley.  Bishop (who wears number 9) has 7 goals already this season.

But Pompey boss, Danny Cowley has lauded their 18 year-old Tottenham loanee, Dane Scarlett (number 19).  Scarlett has played every game this season and Cowley has described him as ‘unplayable’.  Scarlett has scored 3 times this season.

Defender Sean Raggett (number 20) was Pompey’s player of the season last season.

Striker Colby Bishop is the man in form for Pompey

Scarlett Signs From Spurs - News - Portsmouth

Dane Scarlett has made an impact on loan from Spurs

The Manager

The Portsmouth manager will be familiar to Rovers fans from his days at Lincoln City.  Cowley guided Lincoln to promotion to League 1 in 2019.  He left to manage Huddersfield Town but lasted less than a year, in spite of ensuring Huddersfield’s survival in the Championship that season.

Cowley joined Portsmouth in 2021, so is now in his 2nd season.

He has always been assisted by his brother Nicky in all his management roles.

Cowley’s animated touchline antics have, in the past, not made him a particular favourite with Rovers’ fans

Pompey manager, Danny Cowley – not everyone’s cup of tea!

A Rovers Connection

The most recent connection between the 2 clubs was the departure of Rovers’ Director of Football, Rich Hughes.  Hughes was poached by Portsmouth last month, after turning them down during the summer.

FGR accused Portsmouth of making an illegal approach for Hughes in September, in breach of EFL regulations.

Former FGR Director of Football, Rich Hughes, now at Portsmouth

The Club

Portsmouth are one of only 5 clubs to have been champions of all 4 of England’s top divisions.

They have been a top flight or Championship side for most of their history.  Financially troubled, they fell fast from the 2nd to the 4th tier in 1979 but managed to claw their way back spend one season in the top flight 1988.  Several Championship years followed before they returned to the Premier League in 2003.  They stayed in the Premier League for 7 seasons before more financial troubles and another fast fall saw them back in the 4th tier in 2014.  to the side as recently as the 1987/88 season, though they only stayed there for one season.  A promotion in 2017 put them back into the 3rd tier (the same season Rovers came into League 2).

Recent successes for Pompey include winning the FA Cup in 2008.  They defeated Cardiff City 1-0 in the final, with a goal from Nwankwo Kanu, having put out Man Utd & West Brom in previous rounds.  The success came under the stewardship of manager Harry Redknapp.  The Portsmouth squad also included names such as David James, Jermaine Defoe & Sol Campbell.

Portsmouth are nicknamed Pompey, but the nickname also applies to the town of Portsmouth which was a nickname that existed before the football club adopted it.

Portsmouth’s main rivals are Southampton, who Pompey fans (not so!) affectionately refer to as ‘Scummers’.

Expect to hear ‘The Chimes’ sung by Pompey supporters – often as an encouragement before corner-kicks, penalty-kicks or direct free-kicks.  It’s the believed to be the oldest football chant still in use.

Play up Pompey,
Pompey play up!
Play up Pompey,
Pompey play up!

Harry Redknapp led Pompey to FA Cup success in 2008