Mark Catlin plays down significance of Fratton Park staging Portsmouth's play-off semi-final first leg against Oxford

Pompey’s latest play-off bid will kick off at Fratton Park.

Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th June 2020, 6:08 pm
Mark Catlin believes Pompey's semi-final first leg will be held at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

However, Mark Catlin believes the absence of crowds will largely render home advantage unimportant during both semi-final legs against Oxford.

Following today’s Football League EGM, the outcome of the League One season has been resolved.

The 2019-20 campaign has been curtailed, with a four-team play-off to decide the final promotion spot.

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That will pitch Pompey against Oxford – with Wycombe and Fleetwood forming the other play-off semi-final.

According to Catlin, the first leg will be held at Fratton Park, with a date still to be decided.

In the past, having home advantage for the second leg would be perceived as the more favourable scenario.

Although Pompey were still eliminated against Sunderland last season following a goalless draw in their Fratton Park second leg.

Nonetheless, with all fixtures to be played behind closed doors, the Blues chief executive no longer believes the order of the fixtures matter.

He told The News: ‘If it follows the normal format, we will be at home for the first leg.

‘However, considering the situation, I don’t think it will make much of a difference.

‘Usually people tend to see the advantage as having the second leg at your home ground.

‘But I have never really bought into that. I think it’s pretty even, especially with no fans.

‘At the moment, I wouldn’t think it will give you an advantage one way or the other.

‘Admittedly, there is always a slight advantage to knowing your situation when at home in a second leg – but having no fans there is a great leveller for both teams.’

This represents the Pompey’s fourth play-off campaign in their history.

They have so far failed to win a single play-off fixture, previously eliminated at the semi-final stages by Leicester, Plymouth and Sunderland.

Incidentally, Kenny Jackett’s men are undefeated in league and play-off fixtures at Fratton Park since April 2019.

Their last loss in those competitions arrived in the form of a 3-2 defeat to Peterborough on April 30, 2019.

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