The opposition view: Pompey v Fleetwood

Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Fleetwood boss Uwe Rosler Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe
Former Pompey midfielder Gary O'Neil

Former Pompey award-winner handed free transfer

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Fleetwood finished fourth in League One last season – but should have gone up.

Uwe Rosler has done a fabulous job and it was only on the last day of the season when they were denied automatic promotion.

The Cod Army then suffered an aggregate 1-0 defeat to Bradford City in the play-off semi-finals.

It demonstrates the job Rosler is doing – and currently they are seventh in the table after an encouraging start.

However, ask him about targets and he will never mention the word ‘promotion’. Instead, he talks about short-term goals.

Currently, it is about getting to 10 wins quicker than they did last year. That’s his approach.

Last term the target was getting past the FA Cup first round, then breaking 50 points, then beating the club’s all-time points tally. Every aim was short-term.

There was understandably interest in Rosler from Norwich City in the summer, but Fleetwood managed to tie him down to a long-term contract.

The chairman has described it as the signing of the summer for the club – and you can definitely see his point of view.

Rosler has transformed them. Not only in terms of league position, but the style of football. They are much more entertaining to watch and the mentality at the club is strong.

The League One campaign began with three successive victories, although they are rocking a little with seven goals conceded in the past three fixtures.

You can be assured Rosler will be trying to resolve that, shoring things up defensively by going back to basics.

At the other end of the pitch, the Cod Army have netted in all eight matches so far this season, spread across all competitions.

They will be coming to Portsmouth ready to attack, employing a counter-attacking system.

In the summer they lost three big players in David Ball, Jimmy Ryan and Conor McLaughlin, yet have recruited well to cushion such blows.

Conor McAleny arrived from Everton on a free and is clearly too good for League One, but has a history of injury problems and is expected to miss the Portsmouth game.

They have also managed to keep hold of Devante Cole, son of former Manchester United striker Andy, who came close to leaving for Sheffield United on deadline day.

He possesses lots of pace, lots of ability, but is not the finished article and still needs to improve.