Former Portsmouth duo named in League One team of the season - but there's no place for Sheffield United and Preston-linked Blues stopper or Fratton Park player of year

Two former Pompey players have been named in the 2021-22 League One Team of the Season.
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But there’s no place in the XI for any of the current crop of Blues stars, including newly-crowned Pompey Player of the Season Sean Raggett, with the Fratton Park side well adrift of the promotion picture.

Meanwhile, also missing is star-performer Gavin Bazunu, who has been overlooked for the goalkeeping position, despite being recognised as, arguably, the best keeper in the third tier.

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In his place is Plymouth stopper Michael Cooper – who has conceded less goals and registered more shut outs than the Republic of Ireland international.

This means Jack Whatmough and Michael Smith are the only ones with a real Pompey connection in the selected side, with Wigan boss and former Fratton Park assistant manager Leam Richardson named as manager of the season.

Gosport-born Whatmough left the Blues on a free transfer last summer after spending his entire career until then with the club.

Putting concerns about his injury record to bed, he has made 48 appearances for the automatic promotion-chasing Latics this term – his highest total in a season – as the centre-back quickly cemented himself at the heart of Wigan’s backline.

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His involvement has helped Richardson’s league leaders keep 15 clean sheets in the division, while Whatmough has also marked his most prolific term by netting two goals as well.

Michael Smith, Leam Richardson, Jack Whatmough, Gavin BazunuMichael Smith, Leam Richardson, Jack Whatmough, Gavin Bazunu
Michael Smith, Leam Richardson, Jack Whatmough, Gavin Bazunu

No doubt, the former Fratton favourite will receive a good reception when he returns to his boyhood club for the first time tomorrow, when the title could be decided.

Someone else who has certainly proved his Pompey doubters wrong is Smith.

Across 34 League Two appearances for the Blues between 2016-17, the striker netted only seven times – which prompted a loan move to Northampton, before Bury snapped him up on a permanent deal.

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Yet, for promotion-chasers Rotherham, he’s bagged 19 goals in League One this season, and 25 in all competitions, as he bids for another Championship chance with the Millers.

Links to the Blues don’t stop there, though.

He opted for the Dons, however, and this has proved to be an inspired decision, with 16 goals, 13 assists and a place in the Championship still on for Twine and his MK team-mates.

Rotherham’s Daniel Barlaser also makes the line-up – three years after being touted for a move to Pompey from Newcastle.

Team of the Season

Manager: Leam Richardson (Wigan)

GK: Michael Cooper (Plymouth)

CB: Jack Whatmough (WIgan)

CB: Michael Ihiekwe (Rotherham)

CB: Harry Darling (MK Dons)

RWB: Wes Burns (Ipswich)

CM: Daniel Barlaser (Rotherham)

CM: Barry Bannan (Sheffield Wednesday)

LWB: James McClean (Wigan)

CAM: Scott Twine (MK Dons)

ST: Ross Stewart (Sunderland)

ST: Michael Smith (Rotherham)