A new stadium and old friends to revisit for Pompey

The trail was well-worn and had become tiresome in its increasing over-familiarity.

Wednesday, 21st June 2017, 4:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:38 am
Rotherham's New York Stadium

Now fresh journeys are on the League One horizon, bringing with them welcome returns to prized venues eluding for too long.

And in Rotherham’s case, a new ground to explore.

The release of the Football League fixtures prompted the usual interest in opening matches, backed up with new-found intrigue in Wigan dates.

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Lomana LuaLua celebrates scoring the winner against Charlton in September 2006

Paul Cook aside, it has been more than seven years since the last DW Stadium visit.

Elsewhere are invites into the homes of Blackburn and Charlton, last seen by Blues followers during the Premier League years.

Then there’s Bradford, whose most recent memories are of the 5-0 Pompey victory in the final match of the 2002-03 Division One title-winning season.

Similarly, Rotherham also last played hosts in that campaign, albeit at the Millmoor home they left in May 2008.

Lomana LuaLua celebrates scoring the winner against Charlton in September 2006

Since August 2012, the Millers have operated at the New York Stadium, representing a fresh ground for Pompey supporters to chalk up.

The 12,000 all-seater stadium cost £17m to construct and is situated within eyesight of their previous home at Millmoor.

Following relegation from the Championship last season, the clubs have the opportunity to meet for the first time in South Yorkshire since October 2002.

In that encounter, Harry Redknapp’s side ran out 3-2 victors through first-half goals from Vincent Pericard, Svetoslav Todorov and Paul Merson.

Of course, the return fixture in April 2013 produced the same scoreline – and saw Pompey clinch the Division One crown.

Kenny Jackett’s men are scheduled at Charlton on December 9 – more than 11 years after their previous visit.

In September 2006, Lomana Lualua grabbed the only goal of the game in a 1-0 triumph at the Valley during Redknapp’s second spell.

Lualua climbed off the bench to replace Benjani Mwaruwari in a Premier League encounter which attracted a crowd of 26,130.

The top flight also staged the last Ewood Park clash against Blackburn in the ill-fated 2009-10 campaign.

Paul Hart’s team suffered a 3-1 loss, despite Spurs loanee Jamie O’Hara’s 15th-minute opener. Former Blues striker Jason Roberts subsequently grabbing two and Ryan Nelsen the other.

It proved to be Hart’s penultimate game in charge in a campaign which resulted in relegation to the Championship.

That season also provided the most recent trip to Wigan – a goalless draw in April 2010.

Local youngsters Matt Ritchie and Joel Ward were handed league debuts by Avram Grant, with both starting the Premier League encounter.

Finally, Pompey fans will have fond memories of taking over Valley Parade during their last trip.

Todorov grabbed a hat-trick, Gianluca Festa netted on his farewell and Steve Stone grabbed the other in the May 2003 romp inflicted by the champions.