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Rochdale 0 v 0 Portsmouth
SkyBet League One
Sunday, 20th September 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Match Preview: Rochdale vs Portsmouth
Friday, 18th Sep 2020 09:59

Dale play their first home league fixture in over six months as they welcome promotion hopefuls Portsmouth to Spotland on Sunday afternoon.

Date: Sunday 20th September 2020
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Spotland Stadium
One of the last previews I did on this site was for a clash between Rochdale and Portsmouth. Little did I know that one of the next handful of times I would sit down to note down some pre-match thoughts, it would be for another clash between the same two teams almost seven months later.

That was a disappointing night for Dale as defensive errors and failure to handle crosses into the box saw them succumb to a 3-0 defeat at Fratton Park and their opening league game of the new 2020/2021 campaign followed a similar pattern. Swindon Town took advantage of some first-day sloppiness to race into a three goal lead by half-time, which Brian Barry-Murphy's were only able to cut down by one goal in the second half after Jimmy Keohane's consolation strike in injury-time.

With the Robins taking the lead so early in the game, the wind seemed to be sucked out of the visitors' sails, which was particularly disappointing given the cautious optimism that appeared to have enshrouded supporters ahead of the trip to the County Ground.

Dale had, the night before, finally ended the wait to sign a striker by securing a deal for Southend United forward Stephen Humphrys and had also won their first two competitive games of the campaign against Huddersfield Town and Morecambe in the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy respectively. However, the same resilience that typified both of those victories was certainly not on show in Wiltshire and not even when Dale made their long-awaited return to Spotland on Tuesday night.

A mediocre first-half in the EFL Cup second round clash with Sheffield Wednesday gave way to an abysmal second-half showing in which goals from Elias Kachunga and Josh Windass fired the Championship side into the third round with eventual ease.

Brian Barry-Murphy spoke in his post-match press conference about the importance of these fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday and Huddersfield as the club had been unable to play any friendlies against stronger opposition in the lead-up to the more important league fixtures.

If that's the case, let's hope the Dale look more prepared for league action on Sunday than they appeared to be last Saturday when they welcome Portsmouth to the Crown Oil Arena.
Much like Dale, Portsmouth's season started with two positive results in the EFL Cup and EFL Trophy. Although they needed penalties to overcome Stevenage in the former, the Hampshire outfit cruised to a 2-0 win over Colchester United in the latter to give fans hope that their promotion efforts would be fruitful this term after a second consecutive season of play-off disappointment.

However, much like Dale, their last two performances and results have been far less encouraging. A 0-0 home draw with Shrewsbury Town hardly laid down the kind of marker that you may expect from one of the title favourites on Saturday afternoon and that was followed up by a 4-0 thumping in the EFL Cup, albeit at the hands of Premier League opposition in the shape of Brighton & Hove Albion.

The story of Pompey's recent history is one that resonates with football fans up and down the country at the moment. The club's name essentially became a byword for financial mismanagement for a spell, as their ludicrous over-spending in an era that including an FA Cup win in 2008 eventually giving way to three relegations in four years and years of financial hardship and confusion at Fratton Park.

A fan ownership model got the club back on their feet and with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner now at the helm, the club have their sights set on slowly but surely returning to the upper echelons of the English football pyramid. However, that journey has ended in the play-off semi-finals in the last two seasons, with Sunderland and Oxford United breaking Pompey hearts.

Manager Kenny Jackett has overseen these two play-off campaigns, but some supporters at Fratton Park are showing signs of frustration as their team struggle to secure that promotion into the Championship. This year, many perceive the division to be slightly weaker, partly due to the financial hardship being endured by clubs such as Wigan Athletic and Charlton Athletic, so is this the year Portsmouth gets the job done?

One things for sure, if history is anything to go by then Pompey will be relishing a trip to Spotland this weekend. Dale have won just one of their 13 previous meetings against the men in Blue, with Pompey winning each of the last three meetings between the two teams by a three goal margin.

Sheffield Wednesday (h) - LOSS
Swindon Town (a) - LOSS
Morecambe (a) – WIN
Huddersfield Town (a) - WIN
Rotherham United (h) - WIN

Brighton & Hove Albion (a) - LOSS
Shrewsbury Town (h) - DRAW
Colchester United (h) - WIN
Stevenage (a) - DRAW (Win on pens)
Oxford United (a) - DRAW - (Loss on pens)

29 Sep 2018 - Rochdale 1-3 Portsmouth - League One
02 Dec 2018 - Rochdale 0-1 Portsmouth - FA Cup
13 Apr 2019 - Portsmouth 4-1 Rochdale - League One
23 Nov 2019 - Rochdale 0-3 Portsmouth - League One
28 Feb 2020 - Portsmouth 3-0 Rochdale - League One

Photo: Action Images

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