Why Portsmouth must be out of the traps quicker if they're to end poor recent record at Doncaster

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It’s a ground that Pompey don’t exactly have the best recent record at – and it’s because of one significant factor. 

The Blues make the trip to Doncaster for the fourth successive season on Saturday, with Kenny Jackett’s men aiming for a maiden League One away win this term. 

But to achieve that feat, Pompey are going to have to be out of the traps a lot quicker than they have been in their past three visits to the Keepmoat Stadium. 

The Fratton faithful have barely got into their seats before watching their side be put on the back foot.

Ultimately, Pompey’s sluggish openings at Donny have cost them maximum points and haven’t won there since April 2012. 

During the League Two title-winning campaign, Paul Cook’s men travelled to Rovers on January 5, 2017.

John Marquis heads home for Doncaster during the 2016-17 season. Picture: Joe Pepler

John Marquis heads home for Doncaster during the 2016-17 season. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues were behind inside five minutes, with John Marquis – who’ll return to his former side this weekend – opening the scoring.

Kal Naismith equalised before half-time but strikes from Tommy Rowe and Marquis in the second period sent Pompey back to the south-coast empty-handed. 

The following campaign in Kenny Jackett’s first season in the Fratton Park hot seat, the Blues went to South Yorkshire on October 17, 2017.

They made an even worse start to the game than they did nine months prior, however, finding themselves two goals behind within seven minutes.

Liam Mandeville broke the deadlock on three minutes before Christian Burgess’ own goal doubled the hosts’ advantage.

Mathieu Baudry put a ball into his own net on 54 minutes to reduce the deficit but Pompey's misery was compounded by Dion Donohue being sent off 19 minutes before full-time after kicking out at Niall Mason.

Last campaign, it was at the Keepmoat where Jackett's side lost their perfect start. 

However, the Blues could count themselves fortunate they didn’t suffer a maiden defeat of 2018-19.

Pompey were put under incessant pressure in the opening 45 minutes, with Donny persistently banging on the door but were unable to breach the visitors. 

Lee Brown pinpointed the Blues’ lacklustre first-half display was down to a hellish seven-hour journey, especially on the back of a trip to Bristol Rovers five days earlier.

The visitors improved after the break, with Gareth Evans having an effort saved from point-blank range and then Pompey unable to take advantage of midfielder Ben Whiteman going in goal for the final seven minutes after Donny keeper Marko Marosi was sent off. 

Darren Moore’s men firmly have designs on promotion this term and lost just one of their nine games.

Given Pompey conceded two inside six minutes against Burton and after just three minutes against Coventry, Rovers will feel that’s a weakness they can again exploit.

But the Blues must ensure they begin the clash better than their past three games at Donny.