There will be seven new teams to Sky Bet League One ready to begin the 2017/18 season in the third tier once that first whistle is blown in August. We are profiling each of those seven teams, who will all be coming up against the Bantams this coming campaign.
Today (Thursday), it is the turn of Portsmouth.
Since relegation from the Premier League in 2010, it’s been a slippery decline into the basement division and just three years after exiting the top flight, Portsmouth were a League Two club. The first two seasons in the division saw the club finish in the bottom half of the table and the third season (2015/16) saw Pompey beaten in the Play-Off Semi-Final by Plymouth Argyle. Last season, their fourth consecutive season in the basement division, the club surged to promotion, clinching the league title on the final day of the season.
A big club and a sleeping giant at that level, Portsmouth can now begin to start their climb back up the Football League ladder looking towards a potential return to the top couple of tiers in the years to come. Paul Cook was the man to guide them to the league title last season but he recently filled the managerial vacancy at Wigan Athletic. The void left by Cook at Fratton Park was filled by former Wolves and Millwall manager, Kenny Jackett.
The 55 year-old had success during his last stint at this level, guiding Wolves to the title and an immediate return to the Championship; his experience could be a vital cog this season.
Portsmouth have opted to retain many of their squad from last season going into this campaign with much of their squad still under contract at the club. The best left-back in League Two last season, Enda Stevens has moved onto pastures new by signing for newly-promoted Championship side Sheffield United.
The club have recently held takeover talks with billionaire former Walt Disney chairman, Michael Eisner and an injection in cash could see the club become one of League One’s big-hitters next season. Either way, the Hampshire club are still fancied to mount a promotion push this coming campaign and the English Football League’s betting partner, Sky Bet have them as third favourites for promotion with odds at 3/1 and 9/1 to win the title outright.
It’s been over 14 years since Bradford and Portsmouth went head to head and the last meeting saw the Bantams drubbed 5-0 at Valley Parade with the visitors en route to the Premier League. Gianluca Festa and Steve Stone were on the scoresheet that day with Bulgarian forward Svetoslav Todorov bagging a hat-trick. The Head to Head record between the clubs is identical after 36 clashes; both have 16 wins with 4 draws and the two could be competing closely this time around.