Doncaster v Portsmouth: Pre-match talking points

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Will Rooney looks at the pre-match talking points ahead of Pompey’s trip to Doncaster Rovers tomorrow...

History-makers?

Kenny Jackett and his Pompey troops have the opportunity to etch themselves into Fratton Park history at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Since the club started competing in Southern League Division One in 1899, only a solitary Blues side has managed to win all of their opening five league fixtures.

At the start of the 1979-80 season, Frank Burrows' team achieved the feat with victories over Hartlepool, Torquay, Scunthorpe, Wigan and Stockport.

And 39 years on, Jackett's side are on the verge of replicating that accomplishment for just the second time in 119 years.

Pompey have made a hurtling beginning to the League One season and early impressions suggest they will be vying for a top-six spot.

In their first four wins against Luton, Blackpool, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers, the Blues have displayed they have many of the attributes required to clinch promotion –resolve, solidarity and potency in the final third just three examples. 

Jackett and assistant manager, Joe Gallen, have played down the importance of writing themselves into PO4 history.

Their sole focus is continuing the winning streak for as long as possible as they plot Pompey’s way into the Championship.

Nevertheless, it still would be a fine achievement and one the Blues players will be determined to achieve.

Nullifying the scourge

Pompey's management team, players and fans alike are all more than aware of the prowess John Marquis possesses in front of goal.

The striker burst through the ranks at Millwall when Kenny Jackett was boss, although he had multiple spells away from The Den on loan as a youngster.

Marquis finally settled down at Doncaster when he was signed in 2016 and swiftly established himself as the club's talisman.

To date, he's scored 43 times in 102 appearances for Rovers – with four of his goals coming against Pompey.

Marquis has indeed proved to be the scourge of the club he spent two months on loan at in 2013.

And the 27-year-old will have the bit between his teeth when the Blues travel to the Keepmoat Stadium.

After registering in Donny's wins over Southend and Wycombe, he's fired blank in his past three appearances.

Marquis missed a penalty in his side's 2-1 Carabo Cup win at Scunthorpe and a gilt-edged opportunity went begging in Doncaster's defeat to Burton last Saturday.

He'll no doubt prove a nuisance for Pompey centre-backs Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough yet the pair will be confident they can nullify the marksman.

A deserved clean sheet for MacGillivray?

Craig MacGillivray has made a fine start to his Pompey career.

Since his arrival this summer, the keeper has been an authoritative and commanding figure between the posts.

The Yorkshireman’s overall dominance of his area has been astute, while his long kicking has yielded four goals this season.

And MacGillivray is already in the reckoning for save of the season after acrobatically denying Kyle Bennett an equaliser from point-blank range at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday.

Yet the former Shrewsbury stopper has kept just one clean sheet in four outings, which came on the opening day of the season against Luton. 

MacGillivray is no doubt craving another shut-out and one at the Keepmoat Stadium would be just reward.