Why Portsmouth will probably have to find new dates for Cheltenham, Wycombe and Bolton games this season

Joe Morrell’s inclusion in the latest Wales squad to be announced came as no surprise.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 5:18 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 5:24 pm
Gavin Bazunu has established himself as a regular in the Ireland team. Picture: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

The midfielder is a regular for Robert Page’s side, starting all four of their games at this summer’s European Championships and their recent two World Cup qualifiers which were held earlier this month.

So his involvement in the Dragons’ forthcoming fixtures against Czech Republic and Estonia in October was a given really.

Gavin Bazunu falls under a similar category with the Republic of Ireland, having established himself as manager Stephen Kenny’s first choice in recent games.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And while Ronan Curtis is finding it tough to break into the Eire team, he is a frequent flier with our neighbours across the Irish Sea.

Both are likely to be involved in the next Ireland squad for their upcoming games against Azerbaijan and Qatar (October 9 and 12).

There could even be room for Marcus Harness if he continues his impressive form after Danny Cowley shifted him inside for the Blues’ past two games with great effect.

So chances are Pompey’s home game against Cheltenham on Saturday, October 9, – like the game against Plymouth on September 6 – will be rescheduled for a later date.

Miguel Azeez’s likely involvement with England’s under-20s as they come up against their counterparts from Italy and Czech Republic at the same time justifies further that likely course of action, with teams allowed to reschedule if three of more players earn international call-ups.

But it won’t be the last time the Blues will be forced to take a look at their calendar this term, with another two international breaks scheduled between now and the end of the season.

The next one is booked in for the weekend of November 13, when the Blues are due to face Wycombe at Adams Park.

The Papa John’s Trophy game against Crystal Palace under-21s at Fratton Park on Tuesday, November 16 will likely go ahead as planned – as will the Blues’ game against Sutton United on October 12.

But come next March there could be further disruption to Pompey’s plans, with yet more international fixtures planned.

At this point not all games have been arranged by respective countries.

But already, Cowley and Co will know that their planned trip to Bolton on the weekend of March 26 might have to be switched.

It’s far from ideal particularly when a side is desperate for rhythm and wants to build or continue momentum.

But it’s the sensible option when there’s a chance that four of your top players are needed elsewhere.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for less than 13p a day.