Portsmouth fans would have been forgiven in 2018 if they thought their club was heading back to the Championship via the automatic promotion spots. However, 2019 has not been kind to Kenny Jackett’s men as they have struggled to find form since the turn of the year and look set to have to win promotion through the playoffs.
However, Pompey could still have some success on the pitch with a day out at Wembley already booked in this season for the fans, with a trip to face Sunderland in the Football League Trophy scheduled for the end of March.
And, that match could be exactly what the Fratton Park outfit need to get their season back on track and ensure they pick up the momentum they need to make a return to England’s second tier after a dismal time.
As mentioned, Portsmouth fans will have been wondering where the side of 2018 has gone as they have managed to record just two wins since the turn of the year, despite having run away with the lead for much of the early stages of the campaign, including an impressive 11-game streak.
The recent win against Walsall, where Jackett’s side looked dominant and back to their best, will have gone a long way into helping build some confidence and momentum, whilst matches against Scunthorpe United and Shrewsbury Town could also help them in their efforts.
A game of the magnitude that a day out at the National Stadium brings could give them a much-needed lift provided that they come out victorious against an equally impressive Sunderland outfit.
And, Jackett should look to take a leaf out of their arch-rivals book and go one better than what they managed to achieve almost a decade ago.
Southampton went through their own testing times a little while ago, and despite being in the Premier League, struggled with life in the lower divisions at times.
However, in 2010, Alan Pardew helped to guide the club to a Football League Trophy win over Carlisle United and lost just one game following that victory in their attempts to get out of League One.
The Saints ultimately fell short of achieving a place in the playoff spots, finishing seven points adrift – although that was largely due to the fact that they started the campaign with a ten-point deduction.
But, if Portsmouth were able to replicate their arch-rival’s success, then there should surely be no doubt as to whether the club will be playing Championship football or not at Fratton Park next season.
Portsmouth fans, do you think your club can go one better than your arch-rivals and make a return to the Championship by lifting the Football League Trophy? Join in with the discussion below by sharing your thoughts with us.