Here's how the experts believe Portsmouth will fare against Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic, Oxford United & Co next season

Pompey will fall short of a play-off finish next season.

Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:54 am

That’s the view of EFL experts Ali Maxwell and George Elek, after they announced their predictions for the League One season on their Not The Top 20 podcast.

The pair have outlined where they expect every third-tier team to finish in the forthcoming campaign - and they anticipate the Blues falling short of a top-six spot.

In a lengthy and thorough assessment, which you can listen to HERE, Maxwell praised the decision to give the Cowleys the managerial post on a permanent basis and highlighted a potentially devastating threat in Marcus Harness and Ronan Curtis.

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But Maxwell still sees a lot of holes in the squad and is intrigued to see the brand of football produced.

Here’s everything he had to say on Pompey’s chances: ‘We’ve got Portsmouth in seventh under the management of Danny and Nicky Cowley.

‘They had a stint at the back end of last season which was a bit up and down really.

‘They won their first four games and there was a breath-of-fresh-air vibe about their replacement of Kenny Jackett.

The Not The Top 20 experts have praised Danny Cowley's Pompey appointment

‘They spoke about how they wanted to play with a lot more speed and intent on the pitch with more pressing.

‘But things then fell away, and it was difficult to put your finger on exactly how or why those early results weren’t sustainable.

‘Actually by the time they missed the play-offs on the final day, it was a bit disappointing to be honest.

‘The air was let out of the balloon somewhat, but the club saw enough in Danny and Nicky to give them the reins full time and that’s an excellent decision for the club in the mid to long term.

‘Now they have done a bit of a clearout. As well as being a breath of fresh air in the dugout they have wanted to refresh the squad somewhat.

‘They’ve kept some of their really key men in Marcus Harness and Ronan Curtis - two wide forwards who we rate very highly.

‘So far they don’t really feel like they’ve hit form at the same time. If they were to do that we could be in for something quite special.

‘I’m excited to see what football the Cowleys play with Portsmouth.

‘In different jobs at Lincoln and Huddersfield we’ve seen a fairly similar approach to winning games.

‘It’s not always by dominating possession, winning the ball high and short passing.

‘Sometimes it can be pragmatic and direct, some of the Kenny Jackett qualities which didn’t always go down well.

‘I think that’s an interesting overarching theme from the outside looking in - what sort of football Pompey will play.

‘Squadwise it feels they need more at the time of recording. That’s why we have them outside the top six.

‘They’ve made some interesting signings.

‘Bazunu the young keeper from Manchester City was with Rochdale last season. He won’t be quite as busy as he was with Dale it would be fair to say!

‘You’ve got Shaun Williams coming in from Millwall with a lot of experience from the league above but possibly not the most dynamic, and there’s Tunnicliffe as well as Clark Robertson.

‘I don’t think the recruitment has blown anyone away at this stage, put it that way.

‘There is a bit of a wildcard - Gassan Ahadme.

‘He joins on loan from Norwich and has been plundering the goals in pre-season.

‘I think they will need goals from him, I’m not sure Harrison will be there any longer and I’m not sure we can rely on John Marquis at this point. He was quite wasteful last season.

‘There’s a lot of pressure on the shoulders of young Ahadme to score the goals. They just don’t look like a complete side ready to challenge at the top yet.

‘I think between us both we have a belief Danny and Nicky Cowley will improve the club.

‘Maybe it won’t be extreme or straightaway but I think this is a good place for them - and a good appointment.

‘It may be a lot better than this, but we’ve got them just outside the play-offs.’

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