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Club News


2 November 2018

For the 35th time in league football, Bradford City and Portsmouth meet tomorrow afternoon - with the two sides holding an identical record against each other.

The Bantams have won 15 of the previous 34 encounters, as have Pompey, with just four draws being recorded.


Portsmouth weren't elected into the Football League until 1920, some 17 years after the Bantams - and they eventually met in Division Two for the first time in 1924 - when Arthur Rigby scored twice in a 2-0 win on October 20. City's first trip to Portsmouth wasn't quite as memorable; David Menzies' side were beaten 5-0 win the final game of the 1924-25 campaign. The following four meetings all went Portsmouth's way - and just two seasons after their first encounter, both teams left Division Two - although in contrasting circumstances. Portsmouth, inspired by a 40-goal campaign from Willie Haines, were promoted: City were relegated to Division Three (North). Incredibly, it would 50 years until they met again in league competition, with Pompey enjoying a golden period in the First Division, while City predominantly spent the years either side of the Second World War in the bottom two divisions.


By the time City and Portsmouth played a league fixture against one another again, Pompey had been crowed Football League champions on two occasions. However, by the mid-1970s, they had rejoined the Bantams in Division Three, Don Hutchins scoring the only goal in City's 1-0 win over Pompey in April 1978. By the turn of that decade though, both teams had dropped into Division Four once again, but by 1985, both had not only been promoted from that division, but out of Division Three into Division Two, too. The league meetings during that period had taken on a familiar theme; City would often win at home - or at Odsal, as was the case in December 1985 when Bobby Campbell was among the scorers - while Pompey would often win at Fratton Park. There were exceptions; such as the 2-1 win for City at Portsmouth in 1989, when goals from Leigh Palin and Jimmy Quinn helped the Bantams to a mid-table finish in Division Two. And as the end of the century approached, both sides were priming themselves for a return to the Premier League. City's time came, of course, in May 1999 - with back-to-back wins over Portsmouth that season, including a 4-2 win at Fratton Park - while Pompey would be promoted to the top-flight in 2003. Their final game before going up was a 5-0 win at Valley Parade - the last time Portsmouth recorded a victory of any kind against Bradford City.


With Portsmouth enjoying another golden era at the top table of English football, it would be some 14 years before the two sides met again, specifically October 28, 2017 - almost a year ago to the day. On that occasion, Matt Kilgallon's goal secured a 1-0 win for the Bantams at Portsmouth, before goals from Charlie Wyke, Nat Knight-Percival and Matty Lund ensured a 3-1 win for Simon Grayson's side at Valley Parade in the final weeks of last season.


Two former City players return to Bradford on Saturday as part of the Portsmouth squad. Tom Naylor earned Heritage Number #1144 when he joined on loan from Derby during the history-making 2012-13 campaign. Tom would go on to make seven appearances for City. The other ex-Bantam among Pompey's squad is former striker Gareth Evans, who earned Heritage Number #1063 following his debut against Notts County in August 2009. Gareth made 85 appearances for City, scoring 14 goals.

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