Portsmouth must get set for some key Fratton dates

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett will see his side back playing regularly at Fratton Park after a long enforced home break. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett will see his side back playing regularly at Fratton Park after a long enforced home break. Picture: Joe Pepler
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From one extreme to the other – no home League One match in 34 days, and now four in 26.

It’s feast or famine as far as Pompey’s home programme is concerned, but our recent starvation will be long forgotten by the end of the year.

I can’t recall another season where we have had such a long spell without a home league game, oither than in extreme winters where snow and ice have caused multiple call-offs.

By the time Walsall arrive on Tuesday night, it will have been exactly five weeks since we entertained Burton. Only away games have come since then (apart from the Spurs U21 clash in the FL Trophy, but that doesn’t count).

And with so many games to be played between now and the dawn on 2019, you can’t help feel this period will tell us a lot about our ability to go on and claim automatic promotion.

Many are focusing on the visit to Barnsley and home game with Sunderland on successive Saturdays before Christmas, and that’s fair enough.

But Charlton at home brought a massive setback last season (in fact the 1-0 defeat was the difference between us making the play-offs and missing them) and is the sort of game in which Pompey  can  show how they’ve moved onwards and upwards since the 17-18 campaign.

A home game with Southend, three days before the Addicks visit, and visits to Gillingham and Fleetwood in the week between Christmas and New Year complete the hectic month.

And there’s the small matter of an FA Cup second-round visit to Rochdale, and a Trophy tie with the young Gunners before all that too.

Some will probably be happy if we bow out of the Cup at Spotland, but I won't be – I'm eyeing up a third-round home tie with Man City. Don’t want much do I?