Carlton Palmer makes Portsmouth promotion claim | OneFootball

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Football League World

·21 September 2023

Carlton Palmer makes Portsmouth promotion claim

Article image:Carlton Palmer makes Portsmouth promotion claim


  • League One is more unpredictable this season with unexpected teams near the top and big hitters facing points deductions.
  • Portsmouth is currently the table-toppers and unbeaten with 16 points, but it's too early to say they are clear favorites for the title.
  • Other teams like Exeter, Port Vale, and Stevenage may drop off due to lack of depth, but Oxford United, Barnsley, and Bolton Wanderers are promising contenders.

League One was not as competitive last season with three clubs in Plymouth Argyle, Ipswich Town and Sheffield Wednesday all running away in a battle for the automatic promotion places.

However, in the early stages of the 2023-24 season, the third tier is looking far more unpredictable, with some unexpected outfits near the top of the table and points deductions for some big hitters leaving them near the bottom of the pack.

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Right now though, the table-toppers are Portsmouth, who have been under the management of John Mousinho since January.

Mousinho, the former chairman of the PFA and a solid League One level defender for the likes of Oxford United, moved to Fratton Park earlier in the year for his first crack at management, and he's certainly got Pompey firing.

After eight matches, Portsmouth have racked up 16 points and are still unbeaten, with four wins and four draws to their name - although there is still improvements to be made as they have failed to get the winning edge over the likes of Bristol Rovers and Cheltenham in home matches.

Former England international midfielder Carlton Palmer believes that eight games of the season is not long enough to decide as to whether Pompey are sure-fire favourites for the title - especially with two other clubs level on points with them.

"Portsmouth are top of the league after having a fantastic start to the season," Palmer said when speaking to Football League World.

"Before the start of the season, Portsmouth were tipped to be the dark horses given the work that head coach John Mousinho had done and the summer signings they had made.

"They are unbeaten on 16 points but it is too early to say that they are clear favourites for the title. "Exeter and Port Vale both are on 16 points, down to 11th place in the league it's only separated by four points.

"I think they're looking very good for promotion but there's still a long way to go."

Who are the biggest threats to Portsmouth for League One promotion?

Out of the teams currently sitting in the top six in the third tier, you'd naturally expect some kind of drop-off from the likes of Exeter, Port Vale and Stevenage considering they do not have the depth like some of the other sides in the league.

And when the matches start coming thick and fast with back to back Saturday and Tuesday fixtures, the teams with more money and more options tend to be able to put the results together to get themselves in the promotion mix.

It doesn't always work of course, and if football was solely on reputations then Portsmouth would probably be back in the Championship by now, but they look better built than ever for a promotion charge.

Oxford United though are looking promising under Liam Manning and have recruited well, especially in attack, whilst you would expect both Barnsley and Bolton Wanderers with the squads they have to be there or thereabouts come May.

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