Portsmouth host Bristol Rovers in League One on Saturday.
Portsmouth finished 8th in League One last season. John Mousinho ended the campaign with an unbeaten run, but they fell just a couple of wins short of a top six finish. Pompey have had a stellar summer so far. Their squad looks strong and they are clearly aiming for just one thing this year.
Bristol Rovers finished 17th last season. Contrary to Mousinho’s side, Joey Barton’s squad ended on a winless run of seven games. At times last season they appeared a difficult side to beat, but it wasn’t consistent enough and they need to improve this time around.
Here, a handful of our writers make their predictions for the game…
“I like what Mousinho is doing on the south coast. The club appear to finally be heading in the right direction, but they have to ensure they get the results on the pitch to match. There’s a feeling this year could be the one for Portsmouth to finally get back into the Championship, but history has taught us that things are not a given in the third tier.
“Barton needs to ensure a strong start from his side or else he will likely end up under pressure early on. He’s up against the odds this weekend and Fratton Park will be full of confidence as the 2023/24 campaign looms.
“For me this one only goes one way and I see Portsmouth starting as they mean to go on this season.”
Score prediction: Portsmouth 2-0 Bristol Rovers
“Portsmouth have brought in a lot of new players and it might take their new-look squad a while to all gel together. Fans need to be patient with John Mousinho this season and accept that success might not come immediately.
“Bristol Rovers have been steady under Joey Barton and will hope that they can surprise a few in this campaign. They finished down in 17th place last term.
“This is a tricky start for the Gas but I can see them frustrating Pompey and picking up an impressive opening day point at Fratton Park.”
Score prediction: Portsmouth 1-1 Bristol Rovers