Doncaster Rovers aim to bounce back

Jumped ship:Michael Appleton has left Fratton Park to become manager of Blackpool
Jumped ship:Michael Appleton has left Fratton Park to become manager of Blackpool

THE last few years have been the worst in Portsmouth’s history and there are few signs that things are about to get better soon

Still dogged by crippling debts, Pompey could face another points deduction which could see them battling to avoid a second successive relegation.

Their situation hasn’t been helped by manager Michael Appleton’s decision to take over at Blackpool last week - a blow for Pompey but reward for him having done a good job in the most difficult of circumstances.

They go into tomorrow’s home game against Doncaster Rovers, who were relegated from the Championship with them last season, lying 18th in the table having lost their last five games.

“They were a bit like us in that they had to put a team together at very short notice at the start of the season,” said Rovers boss Dean Saunders, who brought in a handful of players such as Paul Quinn, Billy Paynter and James Harper on the eve of the season.

“Even so they’ve got a lot of good players. I know all their players and most of them have all played in the Championship or the Premier League. Izale McLeod scored a lot of goals for Barnet last season and Brian Howard has played for Reading. The two centre-backs are decent and John Harley has played in the top flight. They’ve also go Mussy (Mustapha Dumbuya), who I would like to have kept. He’s a decent player and was unlucky in that he had people like Chimbonda and Jimmy O’Connor ahead of him last seaaon and didn’t play many games.

“They’ve lost their last five games and we’ve got to go there and make it six. We’ve lost our last two games after going seven matches unbeaten and we’ve got to get back on track and try and get another run going.”

“They’ve got some big lads up front and they’ve got some good footballers,” said Pompey caretaker boss Guy Whittingham. “I know Dean Saunders and he’ll have them organised well. And like all games in the league it will be tough.

‘It’s very much about staying in the game and making sure, if you go a goal up or a goal down, you’re just as determined to pull a goal back or get another one.”