Why Kenny Jackett and his Portsmouth troops will be entering the lion's den at AFC Wimbledon

Kenny Jackett in the Kingsmeadow technical area during the 2017-18 season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kenny Jackett in the Kingsmeadow technical area during the 2017-18 season. Picture: Joe Pepler
Share this article
0
Have your say

The swift jaunt up the A3 to AFC Wimbledon has always been popular among the Fratton faithful.

Despite Kingsmeadow being the smallest stadium in the Football League, holding a capacity of 4,850, there’s never a shortage of Pompey fans eager to make the shortest away trip of the campaign. 

A later departure time, a bite to eat in the much-vaunted Fat Boys cafe beforehand and back home to still get to the pub at a reasonable hour, it’s understandable why. 

With just more than 700 tickets available for the visit to the Wombles, with the Blues scrapping the ballot they previously held and bringing in a loyalty points system, they unsurprisingly came at a premium and have sold out.

Pompey, however, head to the capital languishing 16th in the League One table.

Despite early-season expectations of the Blues once again challenging for automatic promotion – after suffering play-off semi-final defeat to Sunderland last term – they’ve started this term in lacklustre fashion.

Apathy has been borne out of underwhelming performances that have failed to entertain, with supporters ruing the fact they’re not getting value for money. 

As a result, it's meant manager Kenny Jackett has had his detractors – as he experienced in last month’s 1-0 loss to Wycombe last month when sections of fans openly chanted they wanted their manager out for the first time. 

Despite going unbeaten in their past three matches, and history proving Pompey can still enjoy a run at the Championship, some fans still hold that opinion. 

And while Kingsmeadow doesn’t at all have the grandeur of the Stadium of Light or Portman Road that can intimidate the opposition, Jackett and his troops will enter the lion’s den.

The away following will largely congregate in the East Stand terrace located at the opposite side of the tunnel and dressing rooms. 

And just in front of them, within touching distance, is the dugouts where both benches are situated. 

It will, therefore, mean the Blues boss will be in close proximity of supporters who’ll be able to air their frustrations – if the need arises.

Of course, it’s something Jackett will already be aware of.

As the pragmatist he is, it would be fair to say he’s braced to come in for some form of flak – even a win these days fails to appease some members of the Fratton faithful.

Yet the manager has an unblemished record at AFC Wimbledon during his spell in the Fratton Park hot seat – he’s won both visits to south London 2-1 

Jackett’s been encouraging by the high levels he’s seen in training and is confident it will begin to transmit on to the pitch. 

And he knows the way to silence any close critics at Kingsmeadow will be by delivering a good victory right in front of them.