PORTSMOUTH face an intriguing home FA Cup tie against Arsenal after the fifth round draw was made on Monday night.
Glen Johnson pulled out his former side with another ex-Blue, Teddy Sheringham, drawing the away sides; Arsenal beating Bournemouth 2-1 at the Vitality Stadium in the remaining fourth round game on Monday.
The Gunners will head south for what is sure to be a sell-out clash, the game likely to be televised live. In a change to the usual format, all eight ties will be played across three midweek nights from March 3 to 5, with no replays. If the tie is level after 90 minutes there will be 30 minutes of extra time and, if necessary, penalties to determine a winner on the night.
The encounter will be the first between the sides since the Premier League game at Fratton Park in December 2009 – Pompey crashing to a 4-1 defeat. And their recent record against Arsenal is poor, with no wins in the last 21 games, the Blues last victory a 5-4 success in March 1958.
Portsmouth are enjoying a good season in the cups, and they were given another home tie in the Leasing.com Trophy semi-final draw, League Two high-fliers Exeter City standing in the way of a return trip to Wembley. The game will be played on February 18 and will be screened live by Sky Sports.
Meanwhile, Portsmouth’s treatment room is being vacated at a rapid rate leaving Kenny Jackett with an almost fully fit squad to choose from when they head to Lincoln on Tuesday night. Andy Cannon was a worry after the midfielder limped off in the 4-2 FA Cup win over Barnsley on Saturday but he has returned to training with no ill-effects.
Pompey’s assistant manager Joe Gallen said: “Apart from Bryn Morris, I think that we’ve now got everyone fit again.
“Andy Cannon limped off late on against Barnsley at the weekend, but he’s fine and so are Lee Brown and Ross McCrorie. There were a lot of players out on the training pitch on Monday morning and that’s a good sight to see.
“It looks like we’re going to have a really strong bench (at Lincoln), which is going to be very important for us in the weeks ahead.”
A win at Sincil Back would see Portsmouth move into the League One play-off places for the first time this season.