New start, no fuss for Pompey’s Richardson

Leam Richardson Picture: James Williamson
Leam Richardson Picture: James Williamson

Dagenham & Redbridge is where it all begins for the Paul Cook era.

Not that Leam Richardson is too interested in either the opposition or place for the grand unveiling.

It’s an old cliche, you have got to play everybody twice and if you want to be successful you have got to win more games than not

Leam Richardson

After all, there are points to be won and a promotion push to be staged.

Saturday, August 8 sees the 2015-16 campaign kick off for Pompey, who start their third successive League Two season with a new manager.

Joining Cook in the Fratton Park dugout that day will be assistant manager Richardson, who accompanied him on the trip from Chesterfield last month.

The pair have been colleagues since their Accrington days – now the Blues are their employers.

A home fixture then for the managerial duo in their new surroundings – not that Richardson is particularly concerned.

He said: ‘Honestly, I didn’t have a preference for the first game, neither as a player or manager.

‘At Chesterfield, my first game was at Bury and I was lucky enough to win that one. Now we find ourselves at home against Dagenham who will prove a good test for us.

‘It’s an old cliché, you have got to play everybody twice and if you want to be successful you have got to win more games than not.

‘Fixtures come and people look at the start, the finish, the Christmas and New Year fixtures, birthdays, all sorts of different reasons.

‘But the football season is a good campaign and where you start and finish is irrelevant as long as you pick your points up.

‘It all rolls into itself in the end. I don’t put too much importance on who we play in the first match of the season.’

The Daggers represent the first of two successive home matches to start Pompey’s season.

Days later Derby County are scheduled to visit in the Capital One Cup, in a fixture whose date is still to be finalised.

Following that there are successive away trips to Plymouth Argyle (August 15) and a mid-week visit to Crawley (August 18).

August is completed with a home match against Morecambe on August 22 and a trip to Luton on August 29.

Notably elsewhere, Cook’s men will travel to Leyton Orient on Boxing Day, then host Luton (December 28) and Crawley (January 2) over the festive period.

Pompey’s first-ever visit to Barnet’s new home, The Hive Stadium, is on Saturday, January 30.

It’s a fixture which will appeal to many of the Fratton faithful, with the ground having only been used for a year since their switch from Underhill.

Meanwhile, the campaign ends with a home fixture to Northampton on Saturday, May 7.

It echoes May 1980 – the last time the Blues were in the Football League’s bottom tier – when Frank Burrows’ side clinched promotion to the old division three.

However, Pompey supporters will be dismayed to see mid-week games lined-up at Exeter (March 1) and York (April 19).

Not as bad as Carlisle it seems, who have been handed a mid-week 790-mile round trip to Plymouth.

Check out Pompey’s fixtures in full here.