The tough run of fixtures Portsmouth's promotion rivals Sunderland, Hull and Charlton face

Pompey’s fixtures for the 2020-21 League One season have now been confirmed.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 12:00 pm

The Blues now know their opponents for their renewed League One promotion push. And, overall, it doesn’t look too bad.

They open with a home clash against Shrewsbury, while there are clashes with Swindon (h), Bristol Rovers (a) and Accrington (a) over Christmas.

There’s also a final-day meeting with Accy at Fratton Park, which could be far worse.

But what about Pompey’s promotion rivals? We’ve taken a look at where some of them could hit a sticky patch throughout the campaign...

A tough start for Sunderland

The Black Cats head into the season on the back of their lowest finish in the club's history.

The curtailment of last term meant Sunderland finished eighth and are forced to spend a third year in League One.

Pompey's Ryan Williams in action against Sunderland. Picture: Joe Pepler

Mackems are surely beginning to lose patience being a third-tier side and will be desperate for promotion.

Manager Phil Parkinson hasn't won over all supporters since replacing Jack Ross and he could come under pressure should they start the season poorly.

Yet the Wearsiders' opening five fixtures do look difficult. They open up by hosting Bristol Rovers who've been plenty active in the transfer market this summer.

That's followed up with a trip to Oxford, a home clash with Peterborough and a jaunt to Charlton. They will do extremely well to deliver maximum points in all three before hosting Blackpool – another side who’ve been busy recruiting.

Sunderland then welcome Pompey to the Stadium of Light on Saturday, October 24.

Hull's not so merry Christmas

Judging by their recruitment so far, Hull are firmly aiming for an immediate return to the Championship.

The festive period can often influence a side's season and the Tigers have a challenging set of games.

They host Pompey on December 19 before travelling to Sunderland on Boxing Day a week later.

A clash against Lincoln is then ensconced between a home clash with Charlton on January 2.

Grant McCann's side also end the term by facing the two sides they were relegated alongside in Wigan (h) and Charlton (a).

Oxford's turn-of-the-year challenge

Karl Robinson's men are plotting another promotion charge after being beaten in the play-off final to Wycombe.

Oxford have a favourable start and Christmas period, but it's towards the end of January when things might get tricky.

The U's host Fleetwood on January 30 before facing Doncaster (a), Wigan (h), Ipswich (a) and Pompey (h).

There's a bit of respite against MK Dons before two challenging games against Peterborough and Charlton, although Oxford will have home advantage in both.

Posh's not-so-good Friday

Peterborough are expected to come with another challenge - even if they do lose talisman Ivany Toney as expected.

For the most part, the Posh don't have any real disastrous runs of games, although their Easter fixtures will test their mettle.

Darren Ferguson's men go to last season’s beaten play-off semi-finalists Fleetwood on Good Friday before they have a quick turnaround to welcome Sunderland to London Road on Easter Monday.

Charlton's uphill finish

It remains to be seen whether the Addicks will be in the promotion mix after their relegation from the Championship.

Despite being under a transfer embargo, they completed a double swoop for Alex Gilbey and Conor Washington from MK Dons and Hearts respectively. Two superb signings at League One level.

If Lee Bowyer's men are in the mix come the business end of the season then they'll have one almighty uphill finish.

In their final six games, Charlton have clashes with Sunderland (a), Ipswich (h), Peterborough (h) and Hull (h) on the final day.

There's also the 500-mile round trip to Plymouth in that run-in.