Charlton v Pompey: pre-match talking points
Will Rooney looks at the pre-match talking points ahead of Pompey's trip to Charlton tomorrow.
As Jordan Cross flagged up in his column earlier this week, there’s a reason why Pompey are outside the play-off places.
Against the teams above them in League One this season, the Blues have picked up just one point from a possible 18.
Kenny Jackett has incessantly reiterated he wants his side to become a force in the division.
And the only way they will do that is to start delivering performances against their rivals – especially away from home.
In the league’s away table, Pompey sit 17th, while their they are the fifth-best side at home.
The Addicks have made their own patch a fortress, having only lost once at the Valley all season.
Nevertheless, a win for the Blues would be a real chance for them to flex their muscles and send out a message to the sides above them.
On the back of five victories from their past six matches, confidence is at the highest it has been all season at Fratton Park.
However, defeat at Charlton would leave Pompey nine points behind their opponents, having played one game more.
That would mean there would be some serious ground to make up in the second half of the campaign.
But a victory would not only put the pressure on the Addicks and the rest of the sides above them, but also inject a real sense of belief into Jackett’s troops.
Pompey are currently sweating on the fitness of a number of players.
But it looks likely that Brett Pitman is going to return from his hamstring injury after missing the past three matches.
The Blues have coped well without their captain in their past two games with victories against Plymouth and Northampton
But despite always looking comfortable in those wins, Pompey’s dominance failed to reflect in the two scorelines.
Pitman has already proved a marquee signing for the Blues since joining from Ipswich in the summer.
He’s netted 12 goals to date and is just three behind Kal Naismith’s tally that won him Pompey’s golden boot last term.
Without the former AFC Bournemouth striker, it’s likely Jackett’s side would be wedged in mid-table rather than sitting just outside the play-offs.
Pitman is a hit man every club in the division would dream to have, with his minutes-per-goal ratio is better than anyone else in the division.
Pompey might have to be patient at the Valley and wait for their golden opportunity.
Clear-cut chances may not come as frequently as in recent weeks.
If the Blues’ rearguard stand firm then Pitman could easily snaffle the three points for Jackett’s men if he’s given a sniff in front of goal.
A carnival-like atmosphere is expected in south-east London.
Tomorrow’s game marks the 25th anniversary of Charlton’s return to the Valley.
On December 5, 1992, Pompey were also the opponents but could not crash the Addicks’ party as the hosts recorded a 1-0 win.
It’ll no doubt be a jubilant celebration for Charlton – but the Fratton faithful have already stolen some of the thunder.
The Blues have sold out their away-ticket allocation, with more than 3,800 away supporters heading up the A3.
Pompey fans will be relishing the clash and will no doubt look to out-voice the home supporters.
And if Charlton were to get a shot in the arm from the occasion, then the Blues’ support base will bring Jackett’s side right up to par.