The games in September are:
Plymouth is normally a tough game but they have started poorly and don't seem to have strengthened this off-season. Bradley has left at CB and Plymouth are coming off a whooping at home by Peterborough 1-5. Plymouth are also playing Millwall away in the cup on Wednesday and are facing a long coach trip to and from Plymouth on Tuesday and Thursday before turning around and driving back up to Hampshire on Friday. Adams has confirmed that they are not staying over after the Millwall game (which might have been sensible albeit expensive). Plymouth are currently bottom of the league and with a tired squad you'd fancy Pompey to win next week at home.
Shrewsbury have gone through a lot of changes to their squad over the off-season and they have lost some good players to other teams. After five games the changes are not working out too well for them as they sit second from bottom (on goal difference from Plymouth) with only 2 pts. I think this is a tougher game than it looks on paper for Pompey but confidence should be high in the squad and Pompey are at home. Shrewsbury play Bristol Rovers at home next Saturday so it will be interesting to see how they go in that game,
Pompey then have a real test when they travel of Peterborough. Unbeaten, five wins from five, scoring goals for fun right now (top goal scorers with 15) and clearly setting the early pace in League One.
Pompey then return home to play Wycombe who have one win, two draws and two losses from their opening five. They have only scored four goals (conceding 7) so far so the early signs are that Wycombe are not likely to be tearing trees up in League One this year (Pompey have 9 goals for and 3 against btw and are equal 6th top scorers in the early stages and have the equal 2nd lowest goals conceded). A tight game could be in the offing and Pompey may need to stay patient but you'd think that there is another 3 pts available from this home game.
Pompey then end the month with a game at Rochdale. The dale have won 1, drawn 1 and lost 3 of their opening five, scoring 6 goals but conceding 11. This is the second worst defensive record in the league. Perhaps revealing is that all four of Rochdale's pts have come on the road. They have lost all three home games in the league to date and have conceded four games to Peterborough and Barnsley (two top guns in the division). There are no easy games but at this early stage Rochdale away has to be a winnable game and not as tricky an away games as ones Pompey has had to face to kick off the season at Brizzle Rovers, Donny and Peterborough. Perhaps it is worth noting that Rochdale travel to Sunderland the week before facing Pompey and that will be a result worth keeping an eye on. You'd think Rochdale would consider Sunderland (a) and Pompey (h) as a tough stretch on early form. Rochdale narrowly avoided relegation last season and their manager Keith Hill is already turning on the fans and encouraging them to either back him and the team or for them to call the chairman and encourage him to sack him. No wonder their results are better on the road!!
Nothing is won on paper as we all know but earnt on the practice fields and on game days. Pompey have earnt themselves a great starting platform and if they can win their three home games during September and pick up a point or better from the two away games (10pts from 15) then Pompey will have started the first ten games with 22pts from a possible 30. I think this has to be the target now for the players from the next five. Give me 3 wins and a draw from the next five and we'll be in the top 5 in the division heading into October.
Time for Pompey to build from their great start. Nothing is won this early in the season but Pompey can put themselves in a great position once the first ten games have been played.