Meet Town’s opposition: Pompey’s proud FA Cup pedigree
Football writer Carl Marston casts his eye over FA Cup specialists Portsmouth, today’s Portman Road visitors
By contrast to hosts Ipswich Town, proud Portsmouth have continued to enjoy considerable success in the FA Cup over the last 15 years, and they arrive at Portman Road this afternoon with an impressive recent away record as well.
Pompey lifted the FA Cup for the second time in their history, following up their 1938-39 success with a 1-0 win over Cardiff City in the Wembley final of 2007-08.
Two years later, Pompey again reached the final, having beaten Tottenham in the semi-finals before losing 1-0 to Chelsea.
And while Town have struggled to get over the first hurdle in the FA Cup in recent times, winning only one of their last 18 matches in the competition spanning 11 seasons, Portsmouth have continued to enjoy exciting Cup runs.
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Only last season they progressed all the way from the first round to the fifth round, wins over Harrogate, Altrincham, Fleetwood and Barnsley finally ended by a 2-0 home defeat at the hands of a young Arsenal side.
The previous campaign they reached the fourth round, via victories over Maidenhead, Rochdale and away at Norwich City, before losing a replay at QPR.
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So they are used to going far in this competition, a feeling that has been alien to Town supporters of the current generation.
DANGEROUS ON THE ROAD
Portsmouth are gunning for a sixth successive victory on the road, at Ipswich this afternoon.
In fact, Kenny Jackett’s men, in this environment of playing behind closed doors with no fans, have had more success away from home than back at Fratton Park, Certainly, that noisy atmosphere associated with Pompey’s famous old home has been sadly missed.
On their travels, Pompey followed up a 3-0 win at troubled Southend, in the EFL Trophy, with a quartet of away league wins at Burton Albion (4-2), Gillingham (2-0), Sunderland (3-1) and Lincoln City (3-1). The last of these was achieved on Tuesday evening, former Doncaster Rovers striker John Marquis netting a brace in the win at Sincil Bank, which moved them to within two points of second-placed Ipswich.
Marquis had also scored a brace in helping to end the unbeaten start to the season of Phil Parkinson’s Sunderland.
It’s not surprising, then, that Portsmouth currently top the League One away charts with four wins from five games and 13 points, as opposed to Town’s seven points from six away games.
John Marquis leads the way at the top of the League One goalscoring table with seven goals (eight in all competitions).
Danger-man Marquis scored 67 goals in 153 first-team outings for his previous club Doncaster, before moving to Fratton Park in a deal estimated at just under £2million in the summer of 2019.
In fact,the Hampshire club have two representatives in the top five, with team-mate Marcus Harness having bagged five goals in joint fifth spot. The former Burton Albion winger has also weighed in with four assists.
Pompey boss Jackett has bolstered his squad with a number of shrewd signings over the last few months, most of them contributing to a strong recent run of just two defeats in nine.
Defenders Sean Raggett, Callum Johnson, Cameron Pring and Rasmus Nicolaisen all started in the midweek win at Lincoln.
Centre-half Raggett was signed on a free transfer from Norwich City in early August, after playing just two games for the Canaries, while right-back Johnson was snapped up from Accrington Stanley and 23-year-old left-back Pring was recruited on a season-long loan from Bristol City.
Young centre-half Nicolaisen, who helped FC Midtjylland to the Danish top-flight title for the second time in three years last season, is on loan for the whole campaign.
Other new players this season include midfielder Michael Jacobs, who arrived from Wigan Athletic, and striker Jordy Hiwula, who had spent two seasons at Coventry. Hiwula was an unused substitute in midweek.
Pompey are likely to field the same squad from their midweek triumph at Lincoln.
The only absentees will be the injured duo of Jack Whatmough and recent recruit Jacobs, plus left-back Lee Brown, who tweaked his hamstring during the warm-up at Sincil Bank.
PREVIOUS CUP MEETINGS
The two clubs have played four FA Cup ties in the last 14 years, and Town have yet to win with three defeats and one draw. There were 1-0 home losses in the third round in 2006 and ‘08, while a 2-2 home draw in 2016 was followed by a 2-1 replay defeat.