Pompey warned they will be marked men

Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn
Bradford City joint-chairman Mark Lawn

Pompey will be a marked team in League Two next season.

That’s the warning from Bradford’s joint-chairman Mark Lawn as he bids goodbye to English football’s bottom division.

The Bantams’ 3-0 play-off final victory over Northampton at the weekend ended a stay of six seasons in that division.

After an agonising plummet down the divisions from the Premier League years, the Valley Parade club are finally on the up again.

With average attendances of 10,332 this term, they represented the biggest name in League Two.

Their closest rivals in terms of crowd numbers were Rotherham (7,954) and Plymouth (7,095).

In contrast, Accrington’s average of 1,674 was the lowest.

Of course, Pompey will take one of the spots vacated by Bradford next term.

Hartlepool, Scunthorpe and Bury have also dropped down to the fourth tier.

But it is the Blues who Lawn is convinced will become everyone’s favoured opposition at that level.

He said: ‘I bet the teams in League Two are gutted we’ve got promoted.

‘They were all secretly hoping we wouldn’t go up because of the money they’d lose.

‘But you’ve got Portsmouth going down – a big-supported club.

‘Portsmouth will be the team that everyone wants to beat. Look at the league and they are the ones to be shot at.

‘One thing Portsmouth will have in their favour is the distance. It’s a hell of a long way to go and teams don’t invariably travel well.

‘Another big advantage is that they’ve also got a brilliant fan base – which is only second to ours.

‘But I’m going to say that!’

This season, Pompey’s attendance averaged 12,232 in League One.

That was in the face of generally small away followings in the Milton end for Fratton Park matches.

The likes of Swindon, Coventry, Bournemouth and Sheffield United did buck that trend, although gates were still far reliant on home support.

In addition, four clubs recorded their highest crowds of the campaign when hosting Pompey.

They were Swindon, Bournemouth, Shrewsbury and Crawley – three of which came in 2013.

So far, more than 2,100 season tickets have been snapped up by Blues supporters for next season after little over a week on sale.

That has put Pompey on track to eclipse this campaign’s figure of 8,100.

Of those clubs Guy Whittingham’s men will face next season, Bristol Rovers (6,308) and Oxford (5,954) are popular in attendance terms.

Meanwhile, Dagenham & Redbridge (1,903) and Morecambe (1,954) have the lowest numbers.