Pompey friendly is bigger than ever for Bognor

Robbie Blake says Bognor’s pre-season friendly against Pompey is more important than ever for the club after more than a year with very little income.

Brett Pitman shoots during Pompey's 2019 visit / Picture: Tommy McMillan
Brett Pitman shoots during Pompey's 2019 visit / Picture: Tommy McMillan

The Rocks will hope for a bumper crowd for the match – on Wednesday, July 28 – to help get their cashflow moving again ahead of a new Isthmian League season.

Pompey’s visit, which had been staged every year since 2013 until lockdown put paid to it last year, is a big money-spinner for the Rocks and helps set up their budget for the season.

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Bognor coach Blake – who was a coach at Pompey before moving to Nyewood Lane in 2018 – says it is a big date in the calendar and also vital for continuing the good relationship the two clubs have.

Christian Burgess and Dan Smith do battle at the clubs' 2019 meeting / Picture: Tommy McMillan

He told us: “It’s hugely important for us. A lot of supporters, of both the Rocks and Pompey, like to see the teams in pre-season action and it’s always well-supported.

“With Bognor having had very little revenue since March last year, it’s obviously going to be vital for us.”

Although the match is billed as featuring a Pompey XI and not their whole first-team squad, it will still hold plenty of interest for Blues fans, who’ll be keen to see some of the new faces boss Danny Cowley has brought in.

Bognor boss Jack Pearce said: “We very much looking forward to welcoming Portsmouth and their supporters – as well as our own loyal fans – on July 28.

“We can’t wait to see football back at our home once again after all we have been through with the pandemic and we must thank Portsmouth for agreeing to play us in what should be an intriguing encounter. We hope to see as many fans as possible come along and see good football and view the great advances we have made with the new-look Nyewood Lane.”

The game is one of a number of pre-season matches confirmed in the Rocks’ schedule.

They’ll make the short trip to Littlehampton Town on Wednesday, July 7 and Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday 17. Then they visit Horndean on Saturday 24 and host Dorking Wanderers on Sunday, August 1 and Chichester City on Saturday 7.

The league campaign starts on Saturday 14.