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Just four years ago, it would have seemed impossible that by the 2011-12 season this would be a Championship fixture.

Portsmouth finished eighth and won the FA Cup, while West Ham ended up in the respectable top half position of 10th in the Premier League.

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However, both have had their financial woes since then, and have been close to winding up on more than one occasion. This season is a chance for them to finally get back on track and return to the ‘promised land’ that is England’s top flight.

The Hammers will be by far the favourites of the two to achieve that, having held on to most of their Premier League squad, as well as adding some quality players. Portsmouth, though, have also been steadily rebuilding, and with a light sprinkling of FA Cup winners still gracing their squad, will provide a stern test for Pompey.

Following a two week sabbatical from league football, these two get back into the rigmarole of their respective promotion challenges. Both sides will be able to reflect upon steady, yet not magnificent starts.

The Upton Park club will be disappointed to be three points adrift of Brighton, while Portsmouth will be looking to build on the six points they have so far acquired.

The last time these two sides met, it was indeed a Premier League fixture. By this time, though, they were both struggling terribly, with Pompey’s top flight experience hanging on by a fraying thread.

The Hammers were the great pretenders, surviving by the skin of their teeth, but merely in the knowledge that they were delaying the inevitable for just another season.

That game ended in a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park, but earlier on in the campaign, West Ham had hammered one of the early nails into the Portsmouth coffin with a relatively comfortable 2-0 win at home.

In 33 meetings between these sides, Portsmouth only just has the advantage in a to-ing and fro-ing head-to-head history with one another.

They have won 14, lost 13 and drawn six. It all points towards this being another highly frenetic, super-charged, gutsy Championship fixture, with that touch of Premier League class that has not yet left these sides entirely.

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