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Gallen: Hit The Ground Running

Assistant manager reflects on fixture list

20 June 2019

Joe Gallen
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Pompey have got used to opening the season at Fratton Park, with a home fixture starting each of the past four campaigns.

But it is a different story next term, as Kenny Jackett’s side begin the League One action with a trip to Shrewsbury.

They follow that up by hosting Tranmere and then go to the Stadium of Light for a fifth meeting with Sunderland since the end of March.

It is a run of fixtures that excites Joe Gallen, who is looking for the Blues to come racing out of the blocks.

Pompey’s assistant manager said: “We won at Shrewsbury towards the end of last season and will go there looking to do the same again.

“The opening day is something that everyone in football looks forward to and you want to get off to a decent start. We’re looking to hit the ground running.

“They’ve made some good signings, such as Steve Morison, who Kenny brought in when he was Millwall manager.

"You need a high points total to get into those top two positions in League One and consistently have to pick up points at home."

Joe Gallen

“James Bolton will be making a quick return to his former club and we’ve got a couple of other former Shrewsbury players in our squad, so it’s a big game for them.

“Then we host Tranmere and home form is something we’re definitely looking to improve next season.

“It certainly wasn’t poor last term, but – and I know this is a cliché – we want to make Fratton Park a fortress.

“You need a high points total to get into those top two positions in League One and consistently have to pick up points at home.

“Visiting Sunderland is another exciting game and one that stuck out straight away. We played them five times last season – and that’s certainly not the norm.

“I’m sure they’ll be strong and both teams will have new players in their ranks by the time the match comes around.

“It will be played in front of a big crowd and between two teams who have the best atmospheres in our division.”

There is still more than a month to go before the start of the new season, but the Pompey squad will soon be heading back to work.

Gallen said: “We’re in for a couple of days next week and will then step things up before going to a lovely place in Ireland.

“The opening two weeks will be pretty intense and our first friendly against UCD will provide us with a good test.”

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