|Portsmouth v Luton Town|
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Saturday, 4th August 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Pompey and the FA Cup first round - a difficult partnership?
Friday, 3rd Nov 2017 18:30 by pompey-fans.com staff
Pompey have had what you might call a mixed relationship with the FA Cup since returning to a league division that has required participation in the first round.
It was in 2012-13 that the Blues, then under Michael Appleton, though not for much longer, took their place in round one for the first time in 30 years. The outcome was not a happy one at Notts County won 2-0 at Fratton to prevent Pompey reaching round two.
The same fate befell them a year later as, by now in League Two, Pompey headed to Stevenage and lost 2-1 with Guy Whittingham in charge.
A third manager in three seasons saw his Pompey team go the same way again a year later - and this time it was all rather embarrassing as Andy Awford's side lost a competitive game to a non-league club for the first time in their history. It was a 1-0 loss at Aldershot that sealed their fate after a 2-2 draw at Fratton on Remembrance Sunday.
Could Paul Cook fare any better after taking over for the 15-16 season? Yes. The only time in the past five years Pompey HAVE got past round one saw them beat Macclesfield and then Accrington to reach the third round. The adventure didn't end there as Ipswich were beaten in a third rojnd replay before Bournemouth knocked Cook's men out in round four.
But anyone who thought that marked a new era of FA Cup success for Pompey was let down again last season when Pompey lost 2-1 at home to Wycombe, again at their first hurdle. And this season's draw, albeit against a side from a lower division, offers no guarantees of a second progression to round two in recent times.
Luton, one of the stronger sides in League Two, host Kenny Jackett's troops this weekend and are talking up their own chances of a little upset. With Pompey having lost three in a row in the league, you can see why they fancy their chances. But Pompey are quietly confident they can keep their hopes alive.
Their boss Nathan Jones said: 'We’re looking forward to it and I think it’s the tie of the round. Obviously I’m slightly biased, but I really think it’s the tie of the round.
'It hasn’t quite got the romance, but in terms of a football match, I think it’s as big as it comes. This is a real, real good test as they won the league last year and probably did it deservedly so as over the season, the league doesn’t lie.
'They nicked it on the last day, but they had that momentum going into the final stages and that’s what you’ve got to do.'
Jones' opposite number Jackett told The News: ‘It’s a game I view positively and a competition I want to do well in. There’s a risk to injuries but we’ve had a free week this week and there’s the chance to change things around for the Checkatrade.
‘Whether it’s your priority or not, playing well and the team doing well is something we want. ‘It’s a tough game for us in the first round of the FA Cup. ‘It’s a good game and it will be a great atmosphere with our fans contributing and getting behind our team.'
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