Meet Town's opponents: Pompey are sliding, strikers out, the Cook factor - and a new boss!
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town travel to Portsmouth this weekend hoping to bounce back from their horror show at Fleetwood on Tuesday night. MIKE BACON takes a look at Pompey.
BIG CLUBS, NEW BROOMS
There is little doubt, along with Sunderland, Portsmouth and Ipswich are three of the biggest clubs in League One.
However, life for Pompey and Town is far from smooth right now.
While Ipswich are looking to move forward with a new boss in Paul Cook, Portsmouth are beginning life without Kenny Jackett.
The 59-year-old’s reign of almost four years came to an end on Sunday following the humbling Papa John’s Trophy final defeat to League Two Salford the previous day.
It just shows how tough managing at this level can be - Jackett had Pompey top at Christmas!
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However, it's Danny Cowley who is now in charge at Fratton Park, and we all know how he did the last time he met Ipswich in the FA Cup in 2017 as Lincoln boss!
So, it's new brooms all round as both clubs seek to bring back the glory years. Both have won both the First Division Championship and the FA Cup.
Indeed, Portsmouth are one of only five English football clubs to have been champions of all four tiers of the professional English football pyramid, (after Wolves, Burnley, Preston North End and Sheffield United).
THE COOK FACTOR
Current Town boss Paul Cook was appointed manager of Portsmouth on May 12, 2015.
He led them to an EFL League Two play-off spot in that first season, but lost to Plymouth Argyle in the semi-final.
However, next season Cook did secure promotion to League One after a 3–1 win away at Notts County.
In an exciting finale and on the final day of that same season, May 6, Portsmouth topped the table (for the first time that campaign) following the 6–1 home win against Cheltenham and were crowned champions of League Two.
Three weeks later Cook resigned to join Wigan!
Pompey have dropped to 10th in League One - as I said, they were top at Christmas!
That's a huge drop by anyone's standards. They have lost their last four games, including a humiliating 1-4 defeat to lowly Northampton (who were 4-0 up at half-time). It isn't surprising Jackett has gone. They are three places and two points behind Town in the live table. Town are seventh.
In the six-game form guide, it makes even grimmer reading for Pompey fans. Only Rochdale and Plymouth are below them.
HEAD TO HEAD
Pompey and Town are pretty frequent opponents.
Since going back to their first-ever encounter in 1959 - a game Town won 2-0 at Portsmouth - the teams have met more than 50 times.
Town hold the upper hand, having won 19 of those clashes, but you have to go back to 2012 for the last time Ipswich beat the Fratton Park side.
The last four occasions the two sides have met - admittedly twice in the FA Cup which Ipswich have never been especially bothered about in recent years! - Pompey have come out on top.
The last time the two teams met was back in December at Portman Road. A Ryan Williams double secured all three points for Pompey then.
One of Town's biggest-ever league wins was against Pompey back in 1964, when they won 7-0 at Portman Road in a Division Two clash.
Former Town man, Ellis Harrison has been ruled out for Pompey with a knee injury for the rest of the season.
The 27-year-old has made 31 appearances this term, scoring six goals. That leaves John Marquis and Jordy Hiwula as Pompey’s only available senior out-and-out strikers, although Marquis does at least already have 14 league goals to his name.
James Norwood remains Town's top league scorer on six goals.
The race for the play-offs remains tight and is tightening up each week. Now just six points separate fifth from 13th in League One, meaning nine clubs can realistically say they are in with a chance of a play-off place, including Town and Pompey.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ayers Rock in Australia, also known as Uluru, was named after Portsmouth native Sir Henry Ayers in 1873. The son of a dockyard worker, he emigrated to Australia, and was the premier of South Australia for a record five years running.