Portsmouth boss reflects on supporter setback as players must again play to Fratton Park silence

The Fratton faithful have been silenced once more.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 4:00 pm
Fratton Park welcomed back 2,000 supporters as it opened up three stands for the visits of Peterborough and Fleetwood. Picture: Joe Pepler

And having revelled in the return of supporters to Fratton Park, it signifies a blow to Kenny Jackett and his in-form team.

It scuppers the Blues’ Boxing Day plans, with 2,000 fans having been scheduled to attend their south-coast clash with Swindon.

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The comeback of fans lasted two matches – Peterborough and Fleetwood – but once again Pompey games are now behind closed doors.

Jackett told The News: ‘It’s disappointing the fans won’t be allowed to come in for Swindon on Boxing Day and the foreseeable future.

‘We’ve made positive strides in the last two home games with a partial crowd in the stadium. They have made a difference and got behind the players very well.

‘It’s clear from the games we’ve played – both home and away – that people have obviously missed football. It has been a very enthusiastic crowd, particularly at Pompey.

‘It’s definitely a different atmosphere, certainly a step in the right direction, and the fact they had missed their football sees them getting behind players.

‘When you are playing in an empty stadium it isn’t the same, you have to still work out a way to win and it is the same for both sides, but in the end it’s a game played for the fans.

‘A strong home bias can give you a strong advantage, particularly at Fratton Park.

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‘Similarly, there is a big picture here and with us as an area moving into Tier 3, it does affect things.

‘Myself and the players really want the crowd back. We appreciate and understand that a Pompey crowd makes a big contribution to the team’s success.’

Such is the quirk of Pompey’s upcoming fixtures, just one of their next seven games in all competitions are at home.

That is Swindon – then after that is Hull’s visit to Fratton Park on January 23.

Jackett added: ‘Obviously there was going to be an announcement today – and we were aware of speculation about what it was going to be.

‘We can’t say we are surprised by the change of tiers, but there is a bigger picture and we have to adhere to it.’

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