Wimbledon will start 2019 with manager Wally Downes aiming to build on the impressive form shown at the end of this year, which has raised hopes of League One survival.
It's the ultimate test on New Year's Day with Kenny Jackett's league leaders seeking to maintain their title charge.
However, Wimbledon triumphed 2-1 in the Carabao Cup at Fratton Park back in August (the picture above shows Tom King punching a cross clear during that victory).
The Dons go into the match having taken seven points from the last nine available and Wally Downes has spoken enthusiastically about revitalising the Dons during 2019.
When asked to give his message to Dons supporters for the New Year, Wally said: "Keep coming back: you support us and we will be trying to give you the sort of football that you want. The short-term objective is to get ourselves out of this bottom four and to start moving up the league."
Below are quotes from both managers, stats, and a recap of previous meetings between the two teams:
"I watched the home game against Portsmouth on TV when I was in India. I thought that Portsmouth were comfortable: they just sat in and waited, they bided their time, and stayed solid. Since I've watched them again, it's the same thing. They are very direct, Kenny Jackett's teams are very organised, and disciplined. Hopefully, we will be the same. We will certainly be going there looking for the three points, but I'm sure they will be thinking the same way. It's just a case of rest and recovery for the boys and we will probably be going with the same squad that we had on Saturday.
"Blackpool are just outside the play-offs, Wycombe were on a great run at the time when we played them after winning six on the run at home. To get points from those two is a good measure of our form, but it's still a case of moving onto the next game and trying to get more points on the board."
"I'm looking forward to the game and it comes off the back of a very good performance at Fleetwood at the weekend. We have to make sure that we take that into this match and that we don't underestimate, or overestimate, any opposition. A big thing for us is putting on a performance of quality and passion that brings our supporters into play.
"AFC Wimbledon are under new management now and have had some positive results lately – there are no easy games in this division. I'm sure it will be a close and competitive contest on New Year's Day and we have to get the details right to win it. If people look like they need a break to restore their energy levels then that's what you have a squad for."
Wally Downes will check on the fitness of Deji Oshilaja (ankle) before selecting his squad. The match will come too soon for Joe Pigott's return after injury and James Hanson (hip) is still doubtful. Scott Wagstaff is ruled out with a calf injury. For Portsmouth, Lee Brown and Nathan Thompson are both ruled out due to hamstring injuries, but striker Oli Hawkins has a chance of making the squad after an ankle injury.
Last time out
Fleetwood 2-5 Portsmouth
AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Blackpool
Form guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)
AFC Wimbledon DWWLDL
AFC Wimbledon 1-2 Portsmouth (13 October 2018)
Tom Naylor and Gareth Evans fired Pompey into a 2-0 half-time lead, but it was a different story after the break following James Hanson's introduction. The substitute got one back after the break in fine style with a superb effort from outside the area and Wimbledon threatened an equaliser for a spell, but Portsmouth defended resiliently to maintain their promotion challenge.
Wimbledon's last visit to Fratton Park ended in a landmark victory in the Carabao Cup. The Dons came from behind to win 2-1 after a 49th minute opener from Christian Burgess. Joe Pigott equalised in the 76th minute with a superb header from Scott Wagstaff's cross and the winner came in injury-time when Tom Soares crossed from the right and Anton Walkes headed into his own net. It was AFC Wimbledon's first win in the League Cup since promotion to the Football League in 2011.
Portsmouth won both of last season's meetings between the two teams. Following a 2-0 win at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in August 2017, Pompey earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory at Fratton Park on Boxing Day. Lyle Taylor's 50th minute penalty cancelled out a first-half opener from Ben Close, but Brett Pitman's 72nd minute spot-kick proved to be decisive.
Wimbledon's last league win at Portsmouth came on 26 December 2014 with first-half goals from Frankie Sutherland and Matt Tubbs securing a 2-0 victory. Click on the link below to watch the goals from that game.
Dons supporters can pay on the day to cheer on the Dons at Fratton Park.
Please note that it's cash only payments on the day with tickets available from the away ticket booth (located between the ticket office and car park behind the North Stand). Dons fans who have purchased tickets in advance can collect from the same place.
Wimbledon fans will be accommodated in the covered and seated Milton End and the prices below are for tickets purchased on the day:
- Adults £25
- Over-64s £19
- Young persons (18–22) £15
- Unaccompanied juniors (under 18) £10
- Accompanied juniors with a paying adult £5.
Wimbledon supporters not attending the game can stay in touch with the action at Fratton Park by tuning into our iFollow channel. There will be a live stream for overseas subscribers with live audio coverage for domestic subscribers.