Opponents in focus - Ipswich
Ipswich looked, for a time anyway, as if they may well have been playing their football out of the no power league this season as they were in, or around, the relegation places for a large part of last season when they were 'expected' to do a lot better.
From the outside looking in it was a case of far too many draws costing them, with points often, from what I could gather, thrown away. Much more will be expected of them this season, that much is for sure, and if this is not the case there will be changes.
The last meeting between the sides was of course back in January 2008, a 1-0 win, which we struggled to against 10-men, thanks to Dave Nugent's goal. This saw our march to the FA cup triumph that season start with the 3rd round win at Portman Road.
Ipswich do have the better of things over the 37 previous meetings - at Fratton they have 9 wins to our 3 with 6 draws. We actually have a better away record against them, although Ipswich lead that race too with 8 wins to our 7 with 5 draws.
So, all in all it is 17-10 to Ipswich, with 10 drawn games.
Pompey's highest scoring win over Ipswich was a 4-2 in 1966/67 with Ipswich's a whopping 7-0 spanking they gave up at Portman Road in 1964/65.
Roy Keane is under pressure to deliver this season, and I am sure he knows it.
There have been plenty of 'rumours' this summer that former Ipswich defender Tony Mowbray is being lined up to replace him if he does not deliver better things for Ipswich this season - so, it would appear that a good start to the season is needed or Keane may well be pushed before he can jump...
In all honesty, as with most other sides - and not just in this league, in most leagues - I do not really know who has come and gone from Ipswich this summer, although from what I can gather there is something of a change taking place at Portman Road.
One name that I have heard mentioned a fair bit is young Connor Wickham. The teenager, who seems destined for very big things, has been 'linked' with the likes of Spurs for money pushing on towards £10m perhaps?
I would not be sure that this amount is quite accurate as I cannot see this being refused, although that said offers £5m are 'said' to have come in for the attacker, with an improved offer as high as £8m then made, but again this was rejected. If Ipswich can retain him, and some of the other attacking talent they have, then that could make a lot of difference to their season.
We got spanked by Ipswich 3-0 on Good Friday, during our title winning season the last time we played them in the league but I always remember the 1999/2000 season games - they were among the best sides in the league that season, at least right up there, but it took a late goal for them to draw with us 1-1 at Fratton and we, a team right at the foot of the table, did them 1-0 at Portman Road!
I remember this game for a few reasons, Stevie Claridge scored the winner and David Birmingham played his one and only game for Pompey, I thought he looked a decent footballer but his Pompey days did not last. Another thing that sticks in my mind from that day was the inception of the 'Tiny Penis Blue and White Army' chant from us Devon Pompey boys - we said that 'Tony Pulis' Blue and White Army' sounded like that, so that is what we sang, of course not meaning any disrespect to Tony...
Ipswich come to Fratton in September, Saturday 11th is the date for your diary with the return at Portman Road scheduled, although it is quite possible this could change, for Saturday 26th February.
All in all, whilst I am not entirely sure what Ipswich will do this season, I would say - at this point in time - it is a safe bet that they will finish higher than us. I would think top 10 at least, most probably pushing for the play-offs? That would be the expectation I would guess.
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