Is Promotion Achievable? A Season Expectations Preview

By Max Bradley

With the new season just around the corner, anticipation continues to build around PO4 regarding somewhat of a desired resurgence in the league standings.

Missing out on promotion, even the play-offs last season did not meet the majority of the fans’ pre-season expectations.

Despite this, the passionate Pompey support have quickly warmed to new manager Dan Cowley, and a new style of football.

It is also hard to ignore the noticeable departures from the squad this window, Craig MacGillivray, Jack Whatmough and Tom Naylor the most noticeable of departees left a big project for the Cowley brothers. A big rebuild

With the departures come the arrivals. Cowley has brought in a mix of Championship experience in Kieron Freeman, Shaun Williams and Ryan Tunnicliffe. And promising young prospects with Liam Vincent and Gavin Bazunu. Not to mention pre-season high flying striker Gassan Ahadme.

Cowley expressed his want for at least another six signings before the transfer window closes on the 31st of August, when asked by Andrew Moon of BBC South.

However, with the first match of the season starting with a trip away to Fleetwood Town on the 7th of August, it looks increasingly unlikely that many, if any of these six signings will be completed by that date.

Therefore, being of the understanding that Cowley wants to continue to add to this currently squad, what is a realistic expectation of Portsmouth this season?

Cup Competitions

The primary focus will be on the league, however we cannot ignore the Portsmouth’s relatively impressive cup record in recent seasons.

Portsmouth boast a 72.5% win record in cup competitions from the last three seasons which is a even more impressive when considering this included games against Premier League outfits such as Arsenal, Brighton, Norwich and Southampton.

It should not be an unrealistic expectation to believe in a successful run in at least one of these three competitions.

The difficulty with cup expectations falls in balance with the difficulty of the tie, however other than the ‘luck of the draw’, there is no reason to believe why Portsmouth cannot aim for an appearance in the 3rd round of the FA Cup.

Any further is a great success in Cowley’s first full season with the Blues.

The Carabao Cup has been Portsmouth least successful of the three cups competitions in recent seasons, not making it past the 3rd round in the past three years. Therefore, this season could follow the same trend at the consequence of maintaining a positive league position and focus on other competitions.

Finally, the EFL Trophy. Two finals in three years for the club which isn’t a feat to ignore. It purely depends on what the manager wants to prioritise. Fighting on four fronts throughout a season is an impossible task, especially for side chasing promotion. Portsmouth can excel in this tournament, if they choose to seriously focus on it.

League One

Despite the so called ‘magic’ of a cup competition, it’s safe to say that all eyes are on league position this year.

Being Portsmouth’s longest stay in the third tier of English football to date, there is no shortage of desire from the fans, players and manager to see a resurgence of Portsmouth’s league form this season.

Home form will be particularly vital to promotion dreams. Portsmouth averaged just 1.39 points per game (ppg) at home last season, down significantly from 2.26ppg in the previous 19/20 season.

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The loss of fans at Fratton Park last season would have been a significant contributor to this huge drop off in home performance, and it goes without saying that the players will benefit from the thunderous atmosphere created by the fans in attendance.

With there still being uncertainty on what Portsmouth’s final squad for the season looks like in its entirety, expectations for the upcoming season may depend on business that is yet to be done.

Regardless, Portsmouth should be looking at finishing in a top six spot come the end of the season. Whether this is in the automatic promotion places, or more realistically, in a play-off position, this new look Portsmouth has shown enough over the end of last season, and pre-season to be able to challenge at the top end of League One for the up-and-coming campaign.

Whether you are a matchday regular, a worldwide watcher or a casual fan of Portsmouth Football Club, this season the team will need your unconditional support.

It’s almost time to Play Up Pompey!

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