Pompey heading for rare pre-season clean sweep

Richard Hughes and Steve Stone in action for Pompey against Panathinaikos in 2004. Picture: Jonathan Brady
Richard Hughes and Steve Stone in action for Pompey against Panathinaikos in 2004. Picture: Jonathan Brady
  • Paul Cook’s Pompey are unbeaten after five friendly matches
  • Harry Redknapp last manager not to taste pre-season defeat in 2004-05

Gillingham stand in the way of Pompey recording their first unbeaten pre-season for 11 years.

Not that summer friendly scorelines are any sort of reliable gauge to what lies ahead in a campaign, of course.

Yakubu on the attack against Panathinaikos. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY

Yakubu on the attack against Panathinaikos. Picture: JONATHAN BRADY

Nonetheless, the fact remains the Blues have won three and drawn two of their run-outs under new manager Paul Cook.

And it’s a string of results which have put him on course for an undefeated pre-season heading to the Priestfield Stadium on Saturday.

It was an outcome which last occurred in the build-up to the 2004-05 season under Harry Redknapp – Pompey’s second term in the Premier League.

The six-game schedule would yield thumping – and expected – wins at Torquay and Plymouth, with Yakubu bagging a hat-trick in the latter.

Then there were routine victories at Wycombe and Rushden & Diamonds – once again nothing out of the ordinary considering the lower-league opponents.

There was, however, a 0-0 draw at Bristol City, before the final match threw up the toughest test of all with Panathinaikos visiting Fratton Park.

That also finished goalless, with a crowd of 6,523 witnessing a starting line-up consisting of Dejan Stefanovic, Linvoy Primus, Arjan De Zeeuw, Patrik Berger, Shaka Hislop and Eyal Berkovic.

That campaign would then see Redknapp walk out for Southampton in November 2004, with Velimir Zajec and then Alain Perrin named successors as the Blues finished 16th in the top flight.

The following pre-season there were losses against Bordeaux and Inter Milan for Perrin’s side, but a win against Den Haag and a draw against Monaco emphasised such results are all relative.

In 2008-09, the Blues would play a staggering 11 friendlies before the Premier League start, with defeats only coming against Manchester United (twice).

The reigning FA Cup holders embarked on a three-game tour of Nigeria during that summer, defeating Kano Pillars and Ajax Cape Town.

However, they would fall to a 2-1 loss at the hands of Manchester United in Abuja, with Jermain Defoe netting.

They also met the Red Devils in the Community Shield at Wembley in front of a crowd of 84,808 – only to lose out on penalties.

After a goalless scoreline it went down to spot-kicks, with Lassana Diarra, Arnold Mvuemba and Glen Johnson all missing in a 3-1 loss.

In more recent times, Steve Cotterill’s side in the summer of 2011-12 played only four matches – winning once.

Although, it was a schedule inhibited by spending two weeks in South Carolina, where they drew twice against Charleston Battery sides.

Meanwhile, last pre-season, Andy Awford’s Pompey suffered defeat in three of their six games – Bournemouth, Charlton and Ebbsfleet.

As for the build-up to the 2002-03 promotion campaign, Pompey lost two of their six matches – at the hands of Celtic and Chelsea. In addition, the bomb squad drew 1-1 at Farnborough.

The Fratton faithful hardly need reminding that Redknapp’s team went on to win Division One with 98 points and a goal difference of plus 52.