Fleetwood up next as Portsmouth are poised to end lengthy absence from League One's top two

Pompey stand on the brink of occupying League One’s automatic promotion spots for the first time in more than 22 months.

Monday, 14th December 2020, 12:30 pm
Pompey are just one point off the automatic promotion spots following Saturday's 2-0 victory at Ipswich. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages

Joey Barton’s Fleetwood visit Fratton Park tomorrow, signifying another tough fixture for the Blues.

Should Kenny Jackett’s men earn a point or victory from the encounter, they could break into the division’s top two.

Not since February 2019 have Pompey resided in either of the automatic promotion positions.

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That was before a 1-1 home draw with Doncaster nudged them down to third, the match in which Jack Whatmough collected a serious injury.

Ever since, Jackett’s troops have never been as high in League One.

Pompey are presently third, just one point behind second-placed Lincoln, albeit possessing a superior goal difference.

Lincoln host Steve Cotterill’s Shrewsbury on Tuesday night, while leaders Hull – three points ahead of the Blues – travel to Blackpool.

Fleetwood, of course, have a significant say in whether Pompey can improve upon their position during this current round of matches.

They venture to the south coast on the back of a 1-0 victory at Swindon on Saturday which leaves them ninth.

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Nonetheless, Pompey could breach the top two – representing an encouraging landmark as their impressive form gathers pace.

Incidentally, Saturday’s 2-0 triumph at Ipswich lifted the Blues into third place for the first time since the end of February.

That was when they defeated Rochdale 3-0, only to lose that position when out of league action the following weekend – while preparing to face Arsenal in the FA Cup.

This is also only the second occasion since April 2019 that Pompey have been as high as third.

In that 2018-19 campaign, a 3-2 home defeat to Peterborough effectively ended hopes of automatic promotion.

Despite the loss, Jackett’s troops remained in third – only for a subsequent 1-1 draw with Accrington in the final league fixture to dictate a fourth-placed finish.

The last time Pompey topped League One was also during that 2018-19 season – for three-and-a-half months.

Not since a 2-1 defeat at Oxford United in January 2019 have the Blues found themselves leading the table.

That could all change tomorrow night, depending on the results of Hull, Lincoln and, of course, Pompey.

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