Countdown To New Season

World Cup Blues? Well there’s no need to worry, with Pompey’s pre-season already under way and the EFL League One 2018/19 campaign now less than three weeks away! 

Despite only finishing a few places from the play-offs, where most people would have expected them to be, it was their first season back in League One and it can be marked as a successful campaign and set good foundations for the new season.

Five players have arrived to help Pompey improve on their 2017-18 season.

Ex-Burton versatile player Tom Naylor arrived on a free transfer.

Left-back Lee Brown also signed on a free transfer, a player that has played in League One for a few seasons with Bristol Rovers, so his experience will be vital in the Blues defence.

Goalkeeping competition for Luke McGee joined in the form of Craig MacGillivray from Shrewsbury Town. MacGillivray has come to Fratton Park as Jackett’s preferred choice, instead of McGee’s understudy, so it will be interesting to see how it further unfolds.

Republic Of Ireland U21 left-winger Ronan Curtis from Derry City has played in the Europa League qualifiers and scored 18 goals in the first tier of Ireland last season. Last signing (so far), but not least, National League play-off finalist with Bromley and team of the season forward Louis Dennis.

Four players have departed Fratton Park, the most notable one being Kal Naismith. After a couple of seasons at Pompey, Naismith left to join up with former manager Paul Cook, at the DW Stadium, the home of newly promoted Championship Wigan Athletic.

Nicke Kabamba joined National League local side Havant and Waterlooville after the expiry of his contract. Theo Widdrington moved onto Bristol Rovers following his release, whilst 19-year-old Jez Bedford who spent last season on loan at Poole Town is looking for a new club.

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Sunderland, Barnsley and Burton Albion were relegated last season from the Championship,  and with the likes of Charlton, Plymouth, Peterborough and other teams within League One pushing for the promotion spots, this season is set to be an exciting and interesting season for neutrals and Pompey fans alike, with the Blues set for some real challenges ahead.

Pompey will be expected to be challenging for the play-offs spots and Kenny Jackett’s side will need to pick up some valuable early points to climb the table and hit the ground running. They open the season at home to Luton Town on August 4th, followed by a summer trip to Blackpool a week later. All the fixtures can be viewed here.

The key to success will be beating teams around them and striving in the big games to pick up maximum points, ideally seeking to have their fate in their own hands, rather than rely on promotion rivals.  There will be ups and downs, without doubt, ultimately it’s where Pompey finish come May 2019 is what will count – here’s to a successful season!

Sam Gale

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