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“I honestly wasn’t entirely sure what to expect this year.” (Q&A)

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Ahead of tomorrow’s match between Lincoln City and Portsmouth at Sincil Bank in League One, we have done a Q&A with one of their supporters, so thank you to Andy from Pompey News Now for answering the questions! Tomorrow’s referee is Sunny Singh Gill and the kick-off is at 12:30.

NEW QUIZ: How much can you remember from the last time The Imps played Portsmouth at Sincil Bank? Have a go at the quiz at the bottom of the page or  CLICK HERE (link opens in a new window)!

You can discuss what has been said in this article here, and get involved with our pre-match discussion!

How long have you supported Portsmouth?

I’m 32 years old now and attended my first Pompey game aged 8 in 1999 but have supported Portsmouth for as long as I can remember.

What were your hopes and expectations for the 2023/24 season?

I honestly wasn’t entirely sure what to expect this year. You’re always hopeful at the start of the season but there were quite a few unknown quantities this year that made it a tough year to predict. I think I predicted us as 4th on our podcast at the start of the year, but my expectation was probably somewhere in the playoffs with the teams in League One this season as they are.

What are your views on your manager?

A total breath of fresh air. Well-spoken, tactically astute, grounded. Doesn’t get too high or too low after individual games, trusts the process. Surrounded by reliable colleagues both above and below him in the hierarchy. The only thing not to trust is anything he says about injury durations – which I think is pretty much a prerequisite to being a successful football manager at this point.

Style of play and tactics – direct/passing/hybrid?

We’ll most likely play a 4-2-3-1. Very happy to play short passes in our own defensive third under pressure and invite a high press then play through it. If we have the ball in comfortable possession in our own half, it’ll be possession based, most likely a ball to whoever is playing at nine (likely Bishop or Yengi) facing away from goal and then whoever is at ten, or one of the wingers (likely Kamara or Lane) giving an option overlapping to try and get in behind defensive players. Under more pressure in our defensive third out wide – clear to the channels and either try to win a freekick or create a wide overlap on that side of the pitch.

One(s) to watch now and in the future?

Ones to watch now? Abu Kamara has such a high ceiling. It’s likely to be his final game for Pompey against Lincoln unless Norwich get promoted from the Championship and we can retain him on another loan spell next season. He’s absolutely blossomed this year and seems to be improving weekly on his weaker foot. Kusini Yengi recently scored his first goal for Australia and is extremely dangerous as soon as you let him run at your defensive line. Marlon Pack will try to take responsibility for everything in centre midfield and for overall performance on the pitch.

Random fact about your Club?

The club celebrated its 126th birthday at the start of April and, to my knowledge, has never won a single playoff leg. You can see why sealing automatics was quite a big deal!

Which were your favourite and least favourite matches involving Portsmouth?

Favourite matches – going back a while – are probably FA Cup Quarter-final against Man United and final against Cardiff in 2008, Semi-final vs Spurs in 2010. Stealing the league one title on the final day of the 2016/17 season against Cheltenham, and honestly, the 89th-minute winner to win the title against Barnsley less than a fortnight ago. I can’t quite put into words what that moment was like inside the Fratton End. Least favourite? Pick a play-off defeat from the past ten years of your choice. They all made me want to hide under my bed.

At the start of the season, which sides did you think would finish in the top six and which did you think would finish in the bottom four?

Good question. I found the order of the top six hard to predict, but had Derby, Bolton, Peterborough, Pompey, Blackpool and Oxford in there. I thought Oxford might get automatics under Liam Manning which looked like a great prediction for a couple of months. Less so now. To go down – I think I predicted Carlisle, Fleetwood, Burton and Cambridge, with Shrewsbury definitely at risk too.

What are your thoughts on Lincoln City?

We’ve obviously got a few links with you these days with a number of ex-Lincoln players on our books and Lincoln having Reeco Hackett and Tyler Walker in your squad, albeit injured. There’s also the Cowley connection too. I think there’s a pretty friendly relationship between the fanbases as a whole and, if it didn’t mean us losing on the final day of the season, I think quite a few Pompey fans wouldn’t mind seeing you in the playoffs after 46 games at the expense of Oxford or Blackpool.

If you could steal one Lincoln City player for your team, who would it be and why?

Joe Taylor. Before Lincoln announced him in January, we had been chatting about how we’d quite like Pompey to sign him for the second half of the season as Kusini Yengi was away on international duty for a while. He is quite rightly very highly rated.

What was the performance like against Wigan?

First 60 minutes – somewhere between ‘still over the legal limit’ and ‘slightly hungover’. Final 30 minutes – a lot more like our usual selves.

What is your prediction for this match?

I can’t see us being as bad as we were for the first hour against Wigan. Mousinho won’t have been pleased by that performance – but Lincoln do have more to play for in the game. I’m going with a 1-1 draw with Lincoln making it into the playoffs by the end of the afternoon and the entire ground leaving happy.

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