A Man Without A Plan

  1. A Man Without A Plan

    This is my first story on FM15 as I've tried to come to grips with the game, I think I'm OK at it now, so here we go.

    I've decided to start as Portsmouth in League 2, I've kept a close eye on Portsmouth's rise and recent plight since the heady days of European football under Harry Redknapp. The team and their fans have gone through more than a few bad days recently (not unlike my team Cardiff), but they are beginning to pull through after getting rid of high earning below par players. I have only one aim at this point in time, which is to win League 2 at the first attempt.


    I'm more of a tactical manager who prefers to stay in the office than stand on the training pitch, so these are my attributes

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    The Squad

    Portsmouth have a very strong squad, especially for this division, so here it is

    The Keepers
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    Paul Jones is by far the best senior keeper out of him and Michael Poke, which means he will be our number one this season. I will be looking to move Michael Poke on as his wages do not match his ability (£1,500 p/w, 2% of our overall bill), this will also give youngster Alex Bass a chance to at as Jones' deputy.

    The Full-Backs
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    We have a few decent full-backs, but are mainly left-sided, Nicky Shorey is a great left-back, especially by the standards of our division. Webster is predominantly a centre-back and will also go out on loan to gain experience, the same for Joe Devera and Danny East, which leaves a gap on the right, Alex Wynter is a good prospect but not quite the full package yet, which means a right-back will have to be signed, I have my eyes on the Canadian Jaime Peters.

    The Centre-Backs
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    Our centre-backs are strong and will provide the corner-stone of the team, Paul Robinson and Ben Chorley are our two best centre-backs, but are both 31 which means they aren't in it for the long haul, this means Jack Whatmough and Adam Webster will be our future pairing at the back, Whatmough will be the back-up and hopefully provide valuable minutes from the bench

    The Wingers

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    The wings are two very strong areas of our squad, Andy Barcham and Jed Wallace will be our starting wingers this season as they are far and away the best and our other strong winger, Ricky Holmes, will be out for a while through injury. Miles Storey and Craig Westcarr will be primarily deployed in more central positions.

    The Midfielders

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    We will be using three midfielders this season, and those three will be (primarily), Danny Hollands, Nigel Atangana and Craig Westcarr. These three will be our main trio, however we have good midfielders waiting in the wings, such as James Dunne. I will be attempting to move Jonny Ertl on as his wages are also mis-proportionate to his ability.

    The Attackers

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    We have five strikers, but two will be out through injury for a while and one will drop into the midfield (Westcarr), which means this will be between David Connolly and loanee Miles Storey, I am leaning towards Storey at the moment as he is both younger and quicker than his opponent.

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    This is how we'll line up for our first game of the season, maybe with a few differences in some positions.

    The Youngsters

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    Jed is a great player and will be for us for years to come, he's been here since 2011 and will hopefully be here until 2031! He will be a strong part of our team this season, and will hopefully provide a few goals and assists from the right wing.

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    Jack is one of our best prospects and will be a future Portsmouth captain! He's already played 12 games for Portsmouth and is only 17, will be mainly a back-up this year, however

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    Adam is another centre-back with a bright future, he will be a foundation for the team in years to come, but is now happy to play in the Conference on loan

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    Only 15 but already good enough for Conference North/South teams, this guy is definitely going places, hopefully it will be with us

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    A player with a bit of class who will hopefully be playing in the attacking midfield role for us in the future, now he will go out on loan

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    Another midfielder, but Ben has a lot more tenacity and is much grittier than the more flamboyant Chaplin, they could be a good partnership in the future

    I hope you enjoyed reading, next up will be pre-season and transfers.

  2. Pre-Season and Transfers


    We played 6 games in pre-season, winning 2, drawing 2 and losing 2. These defeats don't really matter to me as they were against teams in leagues above us and it's only pre-season.

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    Portsmouth 3-1 Portsmouth Under 21s
    Our first game was against our under 21s, who we beat 3-1. Craig Westcarr's tap in gave us the lead 17 minutes in, the games was uneventful up until Andy Barcham's headed goal 78 minutes in, Danny Hollands' volley put us 3 goals up with 9 minutes to go. Hard-working youngster Ben Close gave them a consolation goal in the 89th minute

    Havant and Waterloovile 1-1 Portsmouth

    We visited Havant for our second game of pre-season, fielding a strong team featuring the likes of Paul Jones, Danny Hollands and Andy Barcham. However we couldn't break them down until Miles Storey's 57th minute opener. Havant bounced back 12 minutes later through a well-timed finish from Alan Connell.

    Portsmouth 1-1 Sheffield United
    Both teams fielded their strongest elevens as the two former Premier League clubs clashed in pre-season. We took the initiative through Craig Westcarr and his 12th minute header, we kept our lead until the 67th minute when Scottish midfielder Stefan Scougall equalised for the Blades.

    Portsmouth 4-1 Manchester City Under 21s

    We destroyed a Manchester City youth team packed with young foreign talent 4-1 at Fratton Park in the highlight of our pre-season. David Connolly's poachers effort put us ahead 7 minutes into the game and set the tone for the proceedings as we had more than double the number of shots as our opponents. Andy Barcham cut in from the left wing and scored a curled effort after 33 minutes. Jordi Hiwula scored for the visitors 55 minutes in, but Jed Wallace restored our 2 goal lead sraight from the kick-off. Young midfielder Fahad Rwakarambwe scored our final goal with a 30-yard thunderbolt in the 81st minute.

    Portsmouth 2-3 Doncaster Rovers
    Doncaster striker Nathan Tyson put his side 1-0 up 3 minutes into the game with a close range header, before Paul Keegan doubled their lead 20 minutes later. We mounted a fightback in the second half, with Jack Whatmough scoring in the 66th minute, David Connolly equalised with less than 10 minutes to go, but Spanish midfielder Marc De Val won it for Doncaster in the 84th minute after a goal-mouth scramble.

    Portsmouth 1-3 Wolverhampton Wanderers

    We came up against a strong Wolves side at Fratton Park this afternoon, whom we gave too much respect. Prolific Malian striker Nouha Dicko put them 1 up 25 minutes in and doubled both his personal tally and his team's lead 7 minutes later with a tap-in. Jed Wallace put us back into the game with a brilliant free-kick in the 36th minute, but defender Roger Johnson put the game out of our reach in the 49th minute through a header from a corner.


    I had identified full-back and midfield as positions that needed strengthening and signed players to provide depth in these positions

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    Jaime is a very good player who could easily play for a League 1/Championship side. He can play anywhere on the right, from full-back to winger. He has played at Championship level with Ipswich and is extremely experienced, with over 30 senior caps for Canada. He's only 5ft 7in tll and is quite by comparison, but his pace and determination make up for this fact

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    Durrell will mainly provide back-up for our main midfielders and will come off the bench when required. He has decent potential and could be moved on for a couple of hundred thousand in the future.

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    Michael will provide back-up for Nicky Shorey as Dan Butler is not old enough or good enough for first-team football. Hoganson is 20 and will improve in future, he could provide a healthy profit.

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    I terminated the contracts of Michael Poke and Johnny Ertl, saving the club thousands of pounds per week in wages, you'll see Ertl went on loan to Wrexham, his loan was terminated by them, which led me to terminating his contract.

    Next month will be August, which includes our results in League 2 and the League Cup, have we started well, or have we lost each game?

    August League Fixtures

    Exeter (Away)
    Cambridge (Home)
    Northampton (Home)

    Oxford (Away)
    Newport (Home)

    League Cup Fixtures
    Bournemouth (Home)
    Round 2?

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  3. August

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    Exeter City 0-2 Portsmouth
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    We visited Devon with high hopes and left with three points on the opening day of the season. It took the lads a while to get going as we shared possession with our South Coast rivals, however, we used our possession more efficiently, forcing saves out of Christy Pym. Pym let one past him 53 minutes in after some decent link-up play between Shorey and Barcham ended in a thunderbolt from just outside the box. We continued to attack, but doubt swept in as we couldn't double our lead until an Exeter corner was caught by Jones, who launched it up to Westcarr, knocked it down to Shorey, who whipped it in for Wallace's head. 2-0.

    Portsmouth 4-1 AFC Bournemouth (League Cup First Round)

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    16,679 people showed up to watch one of the greatest robberies in League Cup history. Our South Coast rivals Bournemouth attacked from the off, strikers Rantie and Hunt becoming thorns in Robinson's and Chorley's sides. It wasn't long before Noel Hunt put Bournemouth 1-0 up, 28 minutes in Surman intercepted a Jones goal-kick, heading it forward to Rantie, who flicked the ball towards Hunt who half-volleyed it past Jones' despairing dive. Bournemouth continued their onslaught, Matt Ritchie, Tokelo Rantie and Eunan O'Kane all missing good chances or seeing them saved by Paul Jones. The tide changed on the stroke off half-time, when Nigel Atangana was hacked down by O'Kane with two feet, a red card was produced from the referee's pocket, and off he went. Bournemouth were now on the back foot, we equalised on 66 minutes through a Nigel Atangana header, before we turned defence into attack 2 minutes later as Storey intercepted Surman's pass, gave it to Hollands, who played a delightful through ball to leave the loanee one-on-one with Camp. 2-1 to Portsmouth. Bournemouth opened up in search of an equaliser, which left a gap for Storey which was found by Wallace, one ball into the box and a half-volley made it 3-1. The match was then out beyond doubt when Elliott Durrell picked up the ball in midfield and shot from 25 yards, it beat Camp and earned Durrell man of the match and us a 4-1 win.

    Portsmouth 2-0 Cambridge United

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    We extended our winning streak to three games by beating Cambridge 2-0 at home. A big crowd saw Andy Barcham pick up man of the match and add 2 goals to his collection. A one man show saw Barcham put the Cambridge right-wing-back Tait to the sword in a match where the left winger was allowed to much space. Barcham opened his account 44 minutes in after a flick-on from Storey allowed him a clear sight on goal from miles out, he tried his luck and beat the United keeper who seemed surprised that Barcham shot. Barcham scored a second in the 93rd minute after an excellent pass from Jed Wallace put Barcham through on goal, the winger scored his second of the game.

    Portsmouth 4-2 Northampton Town
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    An excellent first half performance won us the game as we were 2 goals up at the break. Elliott Durrell scored the first of the game 9 minutes in with a half-volley from a tight angle. Jed Wallace doubled our advantage after David Connolly's excellent cross picked the youngster out on the edge of the box. 5 minutes into the second half, Wallace's slightly over-hit cross found Nicky Shorey who fired in from a tight angle. Northampton's Emile Sinclair clawed them back into the game through a well-hit volley just over an hour in but David Connolly put paid to Northampton's hopes with a goal which cannoned in off the bar. Northampton grabbed a consolation goal through Ryan Cresswell with 20 minutes left.

    Oxford United 1-3 Portsmouth
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    We visited Oxford and continued our excellent run of form with a 3-1 victory over them at the Kassam Stadium. Miles Storey got us off to a brilliant start through a brilliant solo goal 12 minutes in. Andy Barcham doubled our lead in the 26th miunte with a headed goal from a Jed Wallace cross. Jack Whatmough then scored his first goal of the season on his first start of the season. Aiden Hawtin scored a consolation on the hour mark, but Oxford didn't really threaten us.

    Reading 2-0 Portsmouth (League Cup Second Round)

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    We knew the match at the Madejski would be a tough one as Reading were top of the Championship at the time. But the lads gave it their all and took a strong Reading side to extra-time before Nick Blackman and Ryan Edwards broke the travelling Portsmouth faithful's hearts in extra-time. A good showing which we could be proud of, but there are more important things than the League Cup.

    Portsmouth 4-1 Newport County
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    That's one way to react to being knocked out of the League Cup! Jack Whatmough's own goal put a poor Newport side ahead 15 minutes in, but they couldn't capitalise on their good fortune and it only took five minutes for Andy Barcham to equalise. Jack Whatmough made up for his earlier mistake 5 minutes before half-time, heading in a Craig Westcarr corner, Newport left-back Andrew Hughes was then sent-off for pulling Storey down when he was through in goal, Nicky Shorey doubled our advantage by smashing home the subsequent penalty. We immediately got the ball back from Newport as Jaime Peter dis-possessed Jackson near the halfway line, he sprinted along the touchline before floating in a cross that Miles Storey headed home. 4-1 to Portsmouth.


    A brilliant month that leaves us top of the tree, the squad are happy, the board is happy and the fans are happy, hopefully it will continue like this!

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  4. September
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    Swindon Town 2-3 Portsmouth (Johnstone's Paint Trophy South First Round)
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    Swindon predictably started the better of the two sides, with Jonathan Obika opening the scoring 38 minutes in. David Connolly equalised for us through a dodgy penalty in the 59th minute, winger Ricky Holmes then put us ahead with a tap-in in the 71st minute, but they scored immediately from the kick-off, with Byrne heading home their equaliser. Andy Barcham continued his rich vein of form, however, by scoring the winner two minutes later.

    Burton Albion 1-3 Portsmouth

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    The first half was quiet and uneventful between the teams first (Us) and second (Them) in the table, with barely any shots or events. But the second half really livened up, especially when the brilliant Andy Barcham ran through their defence before slotting our first past the keeper 57 minutes into the game. We continued pressing and earned ourselves a penalty in the 70th minute, which Ben Chorley calmly hammered into the top left hand corner. Burton fought back however, with Robbie Weir capping a wonderful move with a tap in a minute later. The game was end-to-end from there, filled with missed chances until Andy Barcham put the game to bed with an excellent finish in the 86th minute.

    Southend United 1-3 Portsmouth
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    We started the half poorly and found ourselves one-nil down through captin Danny Hollands' unfortunate own goal 22 minutes into the game, this was a real wake-up call to our players who then upped their game considerably against a weaker opponent. Despite this, we still came in 1-0 down, I told the players to keep doing what they were doing and the goals would come. I was proved right four minutes later as Miles Storey ran onto a Wallace through ball to equalise, Southend crumbled at this point, we then had chances every 5 minutes and I was cursing our luck at each missed chance until Jed Wallace scored our second in the 64th minute. Miles Storey then doubled our advantage and his personal tally for the match with a well-placed header with 7 minutes to go.

    Portsmouth 5-1 Dagenham and Redbridge

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    We played brilliantly against the worst team we've played so far this season, Ben Chorley set the ball rolling with a headed goal from Wallace's in-swinging corner 8 minutes in. Miles Storey then made it 2-0 five minutes later with a good half-volley that flashed past Liam O'Brien in the Dagenham goal. Ashley Hemmings scored straight from the kick-off to give Dagenham hope, but they couldn't capitalise and Nigel Atangana restored our two-goal lead 23 minutes later with a curling shot. Jed Wallace then put the game beyond Dagenham's reach with a headed goal to make it 4-1 six minutes before half-time. Paul Robinson added insult to injury in the 79th minute with a strong header from another Wallace corner to end the game 5-1.

    Portsmouth 1-0 Wycombe

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    We started well but couldn't score and I could see Wycombe getting into the game around half-time, I told the boys to buck up their ideas and to be fair the did, Jed Wallace scoring the only goal of the game 1 hour in to beat Wycombe.

    Hartlepool United 0-3 Portsmouth
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    We started poorly again, but took control in the second half, with Craig Westcarr opening the scoring with a well-timed volley from just outside the area. Miles Storey was then fouled in the box which gave Ben Chorley a chance add another goal to his record for the season, which he did, calmly slotting the ball into the bottom right corner. Miles Storey then added to his ever-growing tally for the season with a tap-in after a mix up between Flinders and Bates left Storey with and open goal, which he duly slotted the ball into.

    Another month where we go unbeaten in the league, winning each game, which now leaves us top of the tree on 30 points from ten games, 8 points clear of Burton in second

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  5. October

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    York City 2-4 Portsmouth
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    We started the month in fine fashion, smashing four past lowly York as we romped to a 4-2 victory. Jed Wallace opened the scoring 35 minutes in, heading in a cross from Andy Barcham, the assister turned into the scorer 11 minutes later, hammering home a 20 yarder which we have come accustomed to see him try at least once a game. Barcham added a second not long into the second half, this time a simple tap in from a Craig Westcarr cross. York's John McCombe grabbed a late goal for them before Jarvis' shot hit an unfortunate Chorley to make it 3-2. Elliott Durrell marked a return from injury, however, by scoring straight from the kick-off.

    Crawley Town 1-1 Portsmouth (Johnstone's Paint Trophy South Second Round)
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    We robbed Bournemouth in the first round of the League Cup, and Crawley seem to have robbed us in the second round of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy! 20 shots from us, 6 on target, our shooting boots were definitely missing for this game. Jed Wallace put us ahead, but Gavin Tomlin equalised for Crawley 6 minutes later. We missed chance after chance up until half-time, and did so after half-time, all the way to the penalty shoot-out, when we missed three chances to beat Crawley, before losing after Craig Westcarr's tame penalty was saved by Jamie Ashdwon.

    Portsmouth 5-0 Mansfield Town
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    We reacted in the perfect way, stuffing five goals past Mansfield! Craig Westcarr more than made up for missing his penalty against Crawley, scoring four of our five goals. Westcarr scored a hat-trick in ten minutes, putting the Mansfield defence to the sword, tearing them to pieces. Andy Barcham also scored to continue his absolutely brilliant start to the season

    Bury 0-2 Portsmouth
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    We kept another clean sheet, beating the team in third place to further strengthen our position at the top of the tree. Joshua Webb accidentally put us ahead, after the ball hit his shins as he was running to defend an Alex Wynter cross. James Dunne then scored a brilliant curled shot from 25 yards to put us two ahead 15 minutes in, and thus drained the spirits from the Bury players.

    Portsmouth 4-2 Stevenage
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    Alex Smith put Stevenage ahead with a beautiful chipped effort five minutes into the match, putting our perfect record in doubt, until Danny Hollands produced a bit of a collectors item, a goal! Ben Chorley then gave us the lead with a calm penalty 2 minutes later. Miles Storey doubled our advantage 3 minutes after half-time with a great half-volley. Jed Wallace then put the game beyond any doubt with a header in the 79th minute, before Chris Whelpdale grabbed a consolation for Stevenage with 2 minutes left.

    Shrewsbury Town 0-2 Portsmouth
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    David Connolly made a rare appearance for the side against Shrewsbury due to an injury to Miles Storey and made a case for the first team with a well-placed strike four minutes into the game. We continued to dominate the match and our pressure turned into a goal through Ben Chorley heading home a Craig Westcarr corner.

    Another impressive month where we kept a 100% league record, who knows how long the run could keep going?

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  6. Results
    Portsmouth 4-1 Carlisle United

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    Another dominating win for us as we march on through the season, unbeaten all the way perhaps? Miles Storey got us off to a flyer with an early volley, before Nigel Atangaa doubled our lead with a header that ended a great team move. Carlisle then pegged one back through a Brad Potts header and threatened to equalise until Storey broke away to score his second of the game, he then completed his hat-trick with a well-placed finish 4 minutes from time

    Portsmouth 5-1 AFC Fylde (FA Cup First Round)
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    Nicky Shorey put us in the lead early on and calmed any nerves of a banana skin tie against non-league Fylde with a curling shot which beat the keeper 4 minutes in. Jack Whatmough then doubled our advantage by belting the ball into the net from a corner, before Craig Westcarr put the non-leaguers out of the tie 5 minutes later, beating the keeper in a one-on-one situation. Striker Matthew Blinkhorn scored a goal which capped a decent move from Fylde, who played decent football when they had the ball. James Dune powered the ball into the Fylde net 13 minutes after the restart before Jack Whatmough added his second 2 minutes from time.

    Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Portsmouth
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    Two goals in two minutes from Jed Wallace put yet another South Coast clash to bed. His first was a well-placed volley after a cross from Craig Westcarr. Nicky Shorey then won the ball back before his over-hit cross found Jed Wallace on the opposite wing, who then cut inside and hammered it into the back of the net. Plymouth's Reuben Reid then pulled one back for Plymouth and ensured a nervy half an hour, but we held strong to get the three points.

    Portsmouth 3-1 Morecambe
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    Iain O'Nien put lowly Morecambe ahead 19 minutes into the game and they deserved it as we started extremely poorly. Morecambe continued to dominate until Nigel Atangana broke away and passed it through for Andy Barcham to equalise, it was completely against the run of play and the Morecambe players went in at half-time visibly depressed. Andy Barcham put us 2-1 up straight from the kick-off and the Morecambe players gave up, Paul Robinson doubled our lead 6 minutes from time, delivering the dagger against Morecambe.

    Tranmere Rovers 1-3 Portsmouth
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    Jaime Peters played on the wing this game instead of Jed Wallace, who'd dropped into the midfield to replace the suspended Danny Hollands, and played extraordinarily well. He scored his and our first in the 32nd minute during a goal mouth scramble. Jed Wallace then added to our lead with a header after a run from the edge of the box just before half-time. Cole Stockton pulled one back for Tranmere but didn't really threaten after that, Jaime Peters put paid to Tranmere's hopes of a draw with a volley 16 minutes from time.

    We really have pulled away now and are 18 points ahead of Burton Albion in second, I hope we can continue this form and if we can, we'll definitely go up.

    A Man Without A Plan-pompey.jpeg
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  7. I've finished the season and I don't want to do 6 months worth of fixtures before starting the next season so I'll do an end of season report

  8. End of Season Report

    More on that later, first the transfer window.

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    Gareth Hamilton
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    £25,000 was a small price to pay for a man of his talent, only 16 and has already played a few games in a Portsmouth shirt. My assistant reckons he'll be at least Championship quality in the future.

    Tom Flanagan
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    With Robinson's loan spell ending and Ben Chorley ageing, a centre-back or two were needed, one who I signed was Tom Flanagan. The 23-year-old Northern Irishman was a bargain for £10,000 and MK Dons' loss is our gain.

    Ethan Ebanks-Landell
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    Released by Wolves after a poor loan spell at Bradford, Ethan will be a big part of our defence in years tocome and will rival Flanagan for the spot next to Whatmough.

    Antonio German
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    Some clubs seemed to be throwing players away and Antonio German was a bargain at £3,000, he has the potential to play at Championship level and has already bagged a couple of goals.

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    Ricky Holmes' sale to Luton had been confirmed in November at it was a matter of time before Ryan Taylor was released. 25-year-old Elliott Durrell scored 2 and set up 2 in 12 games, but couldn't force his way into the team loaned out to Chester, and I can't see him playing next season.

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    What a season! Completely unbeaten, lost to Liverpool in the FA Cup third round 5-2 away, not bad, would have been easier had Robinson not been sent off.

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    128 points, 41 wins, 0 losses! A brilliant season breaking all kinds of records we also scored in every league match of the season, including putting a combined eight past Dagenham in our matches! We had a great season, 117 goals is incredible and we only conceded 36 goals! We finished 43 points ahead of second-placed Shrewsbury also, who were closer to 20th than 1st!

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    Youth Intake
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    We had two decent players in our own youth intake, we also signed a few players from teams below us and a couple of Welsh youngsters.

    Austin Proctor
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    Austin is seen as at least a future four-star left-back, which is Championship standard, he'll develop here for a few years before being sent out on loan to improve.

    Joe Worgan
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    A player very much in the mould of Conor Chaplin who could go on to be a future first-team player in that attacking midfield role.

    Matthew Mason
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    Another midfielder, who we've signed from Ebbsfleet for absolutely nothing, he will be developed in the youth team and will challenge for the midfield role in the future.

    Future Transfers

    I've already been given next season's transfer budget (£2m!) and I've gone about signing a few players to fill in gaps in our team.

    Botti Bia-Bi
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    A deal for the young English striker was made in March, he has been in fine form for Falkirk this season, scoring 8 goals and making 10 assists in 22 games. Unfortunately he is injured for two months, but this shouldn't hinder his development

    Jordan Clarke
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    The 23-year-old was attracting plenty of interest as his contract at Coventry began winding down into it's final year, Coventry would have to fend off many bids in the summer, so I acted fast and offered them £100,000 for the right-back, I then negotiated a salary of £1,000 per week

    Paul Corry
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    Another player who's contract was running down, Corry was unwanted by Wednesday and my bid of £16,500 was accepted, we then hammered out a contract worth £2,000 per week, he will replace Danny Hollands in midfield

    I have also signed a new contract which will keep me at Portsmouth until 2018
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