Fratton Park is the venue for the clash between Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers this Saturday for Pompey’s first game of the 2023/24 League One season. Portsmouth had a positive 2022/23 season and will look to improve on that season whereas Bristol Rovers failed to inspire and will aim to finish higher in the standings.
Portsmouth finished eighth in League One, John Mousinho’s side grabbed 17 wins in 46 games last season. This, with the 19 draws and ten losses, left Pompey on 70 points, just seven points adrift of the final Play-off place. However, Portsmouth’s positive season ended with a whimper with just one win and four draws in their last five games.
Pompey have added to their roster over the summer in hopes of finally reaching the Play-offs and clinching promotion back to the Championship. The biggest transfer of the summer for Portsmouth is that of Gavin Whyte who joined Pompey on a free transfer from Championship side Cardiff.
Portsmouth’s preseason has consisted of six games across July. In these six games, Pompey grabbed three wins, a draw and two losses. These wins included, a 1 - 0 win over Europa, a 3 - 1 win over Gosport Borough and a 1 - 0 win over Havant & Waterlooville. A 1 - 1 draw against Bognor Regis Town wasn’t the best showing in preseason and the two losses came at the hands of 1 - 0 losses to Wimbledon and Bristol City.
Bristol Rovers’ finished 17th in their first season back in League One since their relegation in the 2020/21 season. Though avoiding relegation is always a goal for any promoted team, Rovers would’ve hoped for a higher placement regardless. Joey Barton’s side won 14, drew 11 and lost 21 games in 46. This left Rovers on 53 points, importantly nine points above the final relegation zone place.
Rovers have acquired many new talents this summer. This list includes: Luke Thomas from Barnsley, Jevani Brown from Exeter, George Friend from Birmingham and James Wilson from Plymouth, all on free transfers.
Prior to their opening day match against Pompey, Bristol Rovers played five preseason matches. Rovers managed four wins and one loss in these five games. This includes a 9 - 0 thrashing of Melksham Town, a 2 -0 win over Eastleigh, a 2 - 0 win over Swansea and a 2 - 0 win over Chesterfield. The singular loss came in the 3 - 2 loss against Braga, a team that regularly competes in the Europa League.
Portsmouth and Bristol Rovers have met 48 times in their histories, with one side having a clear dominance in the fixture. Pompey have beaten Rovers on 26 occasions, in comparison to Rovers’ 12 wins over Portsmouth. The ten other games ended in a share of the points between the teams.
In the last five meetings between the two, Portsmouth have won the last three meetings, with Rovers grabbing one win and one ending in a draw. The last three meetings all ended in a Pompey win, making this Saturday’s clash a likely win for Portsmouth as well.