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League 1 Spotlight: Portsmouth

Tom Hancock puts Pompey in the spotlight.

26 July 2018

Always a highlight of the season both home and away, this fixture returns after a one-year absence. The Chairboys have never met Pompey at this level but have become well acquainted after sharing a division in four of the last five campaigns.

Ever since Kenny Jackett’s appointment as manager and former Disney chief executive Michael Eisner’s takeover last summer, Portsmouth have looked like a club very much on the up, and they should be well placed to challenge for a return to the Championship after six years away. A fine first season back in League One saw them miss out on the play-offs by just five points, while only the top four recorded more wins than Pompey’s 20.

Those numbers make their final tally of 20 defeats rather less concerning, although it goes without saying that it’s something they’ll be eager to reduce this time around. A few more goals would go some way to achieving that, with Brett Pitman already providing plenty in that department, having netted 24 times in all competitions during his first season at Fratton Park. On the whole, though, after a difficult period, things are looking rosy for Pompey.

Last season: 8th in League One

In charge: Kenny Jackett
Twice promoted from this level as a manager – with Millwall as play-off winners in 2010 and Wolves as champions four years later – Jackett knows what it takes to get out of League One. After an impressive first campaign in charge, he'll be looking to do just that in 2018/19.

The 56-year-old spent his entire playing career with Watford, making over 300 appearances – the 1984 FA Cup final among them – as well as winning 31 caps for Wales, before injury forced him into early retirement at 28. He started his managerial career at Vicarage Road, spending the 1996/97 season in charge while Graham Taylor was director of football. It would be another seven years before he stepped back into management with Swansea. Millwall and Wolves came next, before a 39-day, five-match stint in charge of Rotherham.

Star player: Matt Clarke
Clarke has been strongly linked with a move away from Fratton Park, but that's just testament to what a fantastic 2017/18 he had. The 21-year-old centre-back scooped two player of the season awards – including that voted for by his teammates – at the end of his first campaign in the third tier. Jackett is keen to build a team around the former Ipswich man, who is being tipped for big things.

Key ins: It’s been a relatively quiet summer on the transfer front for Pompey. Full-backs Lee Brown and Anton Walkes have signed from Bristol Rovers and Tottenham respectively, while versatile midfielder Tom Naylor has joined from Burton.

Key outs: Winger Kal Naismith has moved to Wigan after coming to the end of his contract.

EFL head-to-head:
Meetings: 8
Wycombe wins: 1
Portsmouth wins: 3
Draws: 4

First league meeting: 04/12/2013 (League Two): Portsmouth 2-2 Wycombe (Wycombe scorers: Matt McClure, Anthony Stewart)

Last league meeting: 04/02/2017 (League Two): Wycombe 1-0 Portsmouth (scorer: Scott Kashket)

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