The last time The Imps took on tonight’s opponents Portsmouth at Fratton Park was on Tuesday 22nd October 2019, in front of a crowd of 17,266, including 753 Imps. The hosts won 1-0 that night, thanks to a John Marquis goal in the 28th minute.
Ahead of tonight’s match, we have done a Q&A with two Portsmouth supporters, so thank you to Jake and Jack for answering our questions. The answers have been published on two pages. To get to the second set of answers, press “Click here for the second set of answers!” at the bottom right of the page, or click HERE.
If you would like to get involved with the conversation on 100% Imps, you can join our Portsmouth v Lincoln City Match Thread. We have also published a Lincoln City v Portsmouth Quiz, which can be found at the bottom of the page! Every page view helps us raise money for the Football Club!
First up, the answers provided by Jake:
How long have you supported Portsmouth?
I have been a lifelong supporter of the club, though attended my first game at the age of 9, which was a 1-1 Premier League draw with Chelsea at Fratton Park in February 2008.
The away days started for me in 2015 and since around the end of the 2016/17 season, I have been going regularly, week in, week out. Now, I am extremely fortunate to still be able to go to about three-quarters of matches as a result of my role covering the games for Express FM.
Where did you finish last season?
Last season, the Blues finished in 5th place after the implementation of points per game. It was a fair representation of how we had performed throughout the campaign before it’s suspension in March, though it could be argued that we had started to pick up the form and momentum required to make a late surge for the automatics.
Unfortunately, we lost via penalties to Oxford United at the Semi-Final stage, following a draw in each leg. Still to this day, Portsmouth have never won a Play-Off fixture.
What do you think of your manager?
Kenny Jackett is a bit of a marmite manager when it comes to whether or not fans are behind him. Personally, I respect his CV and past accomplishments getting other big clubs, such as Wolves, Swansea and Millwall, out of these lower divisions, and it was absolutely clear to see why he was appointed in 2017.
Our first season back in the third tier was one in which we had to focus on consolidation, however, arguably Pompey overachieved and finished in the top-half, narrowly missing the Play-Offs.
This raised expectations to a new level for the second campaign in League One, which when you look back upon, was an extremely successful one despite the eventual Play-Off defeat to Sunderland at the end. We finished in 4th place with a staggering 88 points, a tally which in any other season would be good enough to reward automatic promotion, however it wasn’t to be.
The final three matches of the regular season returned just two points and that ultimately cost us our place in the Championship. We also won the EFL Trophy that season too, which was a great occasion for supporters.
Last campaign was technically a step back, with a lower finish and an even worse showing in the Play-Offs. These failures have unfortunately brought in fan unrest towards the gaffer, whose style of play prior to this season was dull and, at times it has to be said, pretty hopeless and boring to watch – the crucial thing, however, it often returned results.
His contract is up at the end of this season, so I believe he deserves the chance to see out the campaign no matter what, we are currently in a great position to go up still and Jackett has the know-how of getting out of League One. The football has also dramatically improved!
What are your hopes and expectations for the 2020/21 season?
We find ourselves in a great position now, breathing down the necks of Hull and Lincoln in the top two, despite Saturday’s setback at home to the Tigers.
The target this season is promotion by any means necessary, whether that is through the automatics (which is what the vast majority of the fan base rightfully expects) or the Play-Offs. Either way, it has to be promotion this season, otherwise, change is needed.
One(s) to watch?
Many outside media outlets and fans would probably pick Ronan Curtis for this answer, however he is not having as good a season as the previous couple, though still has some fantastic performances here and there, there has been an air of inconsistency this term.
Without a doubt one of the most improved players this season, and certainly one who went underappreciated in the first half of the campaign, is 27-year-old attacking midfielder Ryan Williams.
The Australian returned to the club as a wide player in 2019 but has this season been utilised in a handful of roles, including up-front in a 4-4-2 and behind the striker as well. These adaptations have transformed him into a much better player and his performances are beginning to have an effect on the team’s results.
Previously, Williams’ efforts had not returned too many rewards as far as statistics are concerned and his end product was often questioned, but over the past few weeks he has popped up with a few goals and assists and many are touting him as our most in-form player in front of the holding midfielders.
Which teams you think will finish in the top six in League One?
From what I have seen in the first half of this season, I believe Hull City will take the league by storm and win the title with a couple of games to spare. Portsmouth will battle out with Lincoln and Peterborough for 2nd place, while Charlton and Sunderland will occupy the remaining Play-Off positions. This could be the tightest end to a League One season in a very long time!
Which teams do you think will finish in the bottom four in League One?
Well, Burton Albion look like a lost cause now, they are so far behind despite playing the most games of any team in the division. They also ship goals for fun.
I can’t see Wigan surviving, unfortunately, which is a shame to see another club of that size drop down to League Two as a result of off-field issues.
Northampton Town I also believe will drop and return to the fourth tier, they had a handful of key players from their promotion campaign, such as Charlie Goode and Callum Morton, taken away from them and I don’t think they have replaced them to a good enough standard for League One. We beat them 4-0 at Fratton a few months ago and they did not look good in any region of the pitch, and I’m aware that supporters on social media are growing frustrated with Keith Curle and his failure to change the system.
And finally, I see AFC Wimbledon narrowly avoiding survival and taking up 21st position, as Rochdale seem to always stay up against the odds and Swindon Town have a good enough team to pick up results.
What are your thoughts on Lincoln City?
Lincoln are a different animal under Michael Appleton and it was the revival the club needed following the departure of the Cowley Brothers. Appleton completely reshaped the squad and replaced a lot of players from what I remember and I do worry whenever we meet, as the previous 3 meetings have all been tight affairs, despite out 3-1 victory earlier this season at Sincil Bank.
The Imps’ positive attitude and the squad with such a winning mentality will carry them over to finish comfortably in the top six this season.
What do you think the score will be?
I think it will be a very tight game between two sides who will go at each other and desperately want three points. Saturday’s defeat, I feel, won’t dampen spirits around Fratton Park too much, but I also do not believe that we have the same confidence as we did prior to that game to win tonight’s match. I’m going for a 1-1 draw, and move on to the second half of the season having already played Lincoln and Hull twice.
Random fact about your Club?
Portsmouth have held The FA Cup for the longest period of any other club, as a result of World War II breaking out, the competition was obviously not played for six seasons. Our victory over Wolves in 1939 was the last final before the tournament returned in 1945/46.
Also recently, we have picked up the accolade of the longest club holding the EFL Trophy, due to the outbreak of COVID-19 and last season’s final being delayed, we technically still hold the 2019 title and no club has ever retained the trophy in any of its formats.
If you could steal one Lincoln City player for your own team, who would it be and why?
I would have to say Conor McGrandles, who always puts in a decent shift against us whether that’s in a Lincoln City shirt or an MK Dons shirt. He is the sort of attacking player who always gives 100% and that is the sort of mentality we strive to have at Portsmouth.
What are your proudest and most embarrassing moments as a Portsmouth supporter?
The proudest moment personally would be the promotion from League Two in 2017. When we defeated Notts County by 3 goals to 1 at Meadow Lane on April 17th, the sheer volume of messages I received throughout the evening and whilst storming the pitch to celebrate was insane. I’ve never seen such support and congratulatory messages from fans of other clubs for a team winning promotion before.
Of course, the 2008 FA Cup victory also one of the proudest moments as a supporter, however, I was only 9 years old at the time and unfortunately do not remember it too well.
There aren’t too many embarrassing moments to remember, though when we played Scunthorpe United away in September 2017, the media team picked me as an away supporters to compete in the fans half time challenge on the pitch, where I would go on to beat the three Scunthorpe fans and lob Scunny the Bunny in the final penalty, before jogging back to the away end with a face as red as anything. It was fun, but embarrassing!
The following season, we returned and I made a fool of myself, slipping on my arse and losing. That would perhaps be more embarrassing had I not then taken my seat back in the press-box as opposed to returning to the away end.
Who would you say is your most underrated player?
Right-back Callum Johnson never really gets mentioned, he is just an ever-present member of the team this season and had kept both James Bolton and Haji Mnoga out of the league squad throughout the campaign and without question too.
Johnson was only signed at the start of the season from Accrington Stanley, whose supporters rated him very highly, even going to the extreme of labelling him the best of his position in the league. From what we have been treated too, he has been consistent, solid and likes to help out with attacks too, often overlapping the wide midfielder and making the run down the flank, he also has a very good deliver on him too!
Do you have a Supporters Trust and what role do they play at the Club?
Which was your favourite match involving Portsmouth?
There are plenty to choose from and all for different reasons!
The 3-1 win over Notts County as previously mentioned obviously is up there due to what it meant for promotion, as well as the 6-1 romping of Cheltenham Town on the final day to secure the title right at the death from Doncaster and Plymouth.
Then, of course, the dramatic penalty shoot-out victory at Wembley against Sunderland to win the EFL Trophy in front of over 88,000 spectators makes the cut, but I would make my final selection for my favourite being the 3-2 win over Exeter City in last season’s Semi-Final. We found ourselves conceding what seemed to be a late Exeter winner on the 89th minute when Christian Burgess, unfortunately, put the 0ball into the back of his own net.
However, in the craziest of circumstances, Pompey equalised in the 91st minute and bagged the winner in the 96th minute to make the Wembley Final, the winning John Marquis header went in so slowly but I’ve never celebrated a goal so hard in my life, despite being live on air with LoveSport Radio!
Which was your least favourite match involving Portsmouth?
It would have to be the 4-0 home defeat to bitter rivals Southampton in last season’s Carabao Cup. That was only my second taste of a South Coast Derby with the first ending in a stalemate in 2011, so this hurt, even if they were expected to claim victory.
Do you have a Former Players Association at Portsmouth?
We do, and they are always getting involved with the club and Pompey in the Community which is great!
What is the best thing about Portsmouth?
It’s a great city to live in, especially during the summer! We’ve got a great beach and funfair and Gunwharf Quays is great to visit as there’s plenty to see and do!
We have a proud naval heritage and the Dockyard is always a great place to go to learn about the history of the Navy, also being a hotspot for tourists.
We also have a number of interesting museums and of course, the city bleeds Blue, Fratton Park is often described as the heartbeat of Portsmouth.
Have a go at our Lincoln City v Portsmouth Quiz below:
— Vital Lincoln City (@VitalLincoln) January 26, 2021