Connolly: Ticket sales are no guarantee of Pompey success

David Connolly believes packed stands and a host of fresh faces won't guarantee success in League Two Picture: Joe Pepler
David Connolly believes packed stands and a host of fresh faces won't guarantee success in League Two Picture: Joe Pepler

The feel-good factor may be back at Fratton Park – but David Connolly has warned the Pompey faithful that fan power does not guarantee success.

Over 8,500 loyal Blues supporters were on hand to watch Guy Whittingham’s side step up their League Two preparations with the friendly visit of Charlton on Saturday.

It was the first chance for everyone to see Pompey’s new-look squad perform on home soil – and the first opportunity for many to assess the manager’s extensive summer recruitment drive following the Pompey Supporters’ Club’s takeover at the end of last season.

Since that historic gain of control, Whittingham has signed up eight new players to his squad and handed permanent deals to five of last season’s side.

Such positive moves have understandably seen some disillusioned fans’ faith in the club restored after several years of negativity – with over 10,000 supporters buying season tickets next season.

It has also seen Pompey installed as the bookies’ favourites to win promotion back up to League One at the first time of asking.

Connolly, however, doesn’t accept it will be that simple.

The experienced striker believes packed stands and a host of fresh faces will not ensure automatic glory.

And he has warned fans to expect a difficult season in League Two as the team settles and rival clubs attempt to burst the Pompey bubble.

‘I think it’s going to be very difficult in League Two,’ said Connolly.

‘Perhaps we may have to temper expectations.

‘I’m not quite sure how high expectations are.

‘But if they are too high, I’d be saying; “I’m not too sure about that”.

‘Obviously, our fans are fantastic – there’s 10,000 season-ticket holders and they’ll expect.

‘But I hope they’ll understand this is like a new team.

‘And just because you are Portsmouth doesn’t mean you are going to walk this league because you have got 10,000 season tickets sold.

‘I think it will be tough because we’ll be a big fish in a small pond and everybody will see us as their cup final.

‘I’ve had that at other clubs and it doesn’t make it easy.

‘And then it takes a lot of things to make it a promotion or championship-winning team – not just being at a big club and because you have a big fan base.

‘It doesn’t mean you are going to get success – particularly when you have got a lot of new players who will take time to settle.’

Expectations levels were dampened slightly by the result on Saturday, with Championship Charlton running out 3-0 winners.

Seven of Whittingham’s new signings started the game, while Ricky Holmes and triallist Ryan Bird made appearances in the second half.

But Connolly believes there was still plenty to be positive about.

He said: ‘The result didn’t go our way but there were elements of our play that were encouraging and obviously bits we need to work on but that’s what pre-season is for.

‘Hopefully it will serve us well for when the season starts.’