Portsmouth Season Preview: sharing the goals

The footage of 4,000 Portsmouth supporters celebrating promotion at Meadow Lane last April pleased football fans across England. Pompey fans, renowned for their noise and spirit in adversity, have finally been rewarded with a successful team. New off-field leaders, Michael Eisner and Kenny Jackett, hope to sustain that trend. Pompey Memes discusses all at Fratton Park.

The bad times are over for now touch wood. I can’t see us heading down the same road the lead us to the basement division in the football league and I can’t see us romping straight back up to the Prem – neither would I want to. There’s definitely a good feeling back around the club and hopefully a smudge less pressure which was certainly stating to boil over in League Two.

Tornate Group, led by Michael Eisner have completed a takeover. Are you excited that the club will get fresh investment?

I’m excited on the project that Mr Eisner has laid out to the shareholders. I believe that the areas he is looking to invest are not only vital but also a show what a great philosophy he has.

In Kenny Jackett’s last three seasons as a manager at this level, his teams have achieved three top six finishes including two promotions. A good appointment?

We were paid by Wigan to upgrade our manager. We’ve appointed a man that’s taken clubs out of this league. Mark Catlin and the board have worked their magic with this appointment as they do with the day to day running of this great club.

Last season your wide men like Carl Baker and Kyle Bennett had freedom to roam inside, but Jackett normally likes them to show positional discipline. Will the squad take time to adjust to his tactics?

Good question. You could argue that will Kenny take time to adjust his? We’re in a transition period at the moment and Kenny has stated that he doesn’t want to rip up the foundations that this squad have been built on so I can’t see his tactics being that dissimilar to what we’ve played like before, so I think my answer is no.

Enda Stevens departed for Sheffield United after receiving the Player of the Year Award. Is Huddersfield loanee Tareiq Holmes-Dennis capable of replacing him at left-back?

Stevens was a massive loss, one that was inevitable. From what I’ve heard Holmes-Dennis is more than capable of filling the void, who knows how much he could blossom himself.

Centre-back Nathan Thompson signs from Swindon. Do you see him starting against Rochdale, or will Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess remain the first choice centre-back pairing?

He’s more predominantly a RB. Unfortunately it looks like he’s going to miss the first few games of this season due to injury, so we won’t know about him until he’s chucked in the deep end. Even if Kenny wanted to play him as CB, if Clarke and Burgess were both fit, I think most CB would struggle to get in ahead of them.

Holmes-Dennis and Thompson are your only two signings at the time of writing. Has the change of manager and board delayed transfer business?

No. As Kenny has proved from the quality of his signings up to date, there is no rush. The signings we’ve made have been some of the best in the division. Nothing has held us back this summer and long may they continue.

Players who could profit from the lack of activity are academy graduates Jack Whatmough, Ben Close and Brandon Haunstrup. Are they fortunate to all get new deals despite rarely featuring in League Two?

Those three aren’t fortunate. They all posses the capability of featuring from game to game, Jack especially. Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain however in my opinion is very fortunate to get a new deal after watching him 15+ times for the reserves and non league matches.

Nine players scored four or more goals last season, but none of them scored more than 13. Is an out-and-out striker needed? 

You could argue no, we’ve just won the league based on those stats. However with the signing of Brett Pitman we may finally have a goal scorer who can get a fair few in double figures – providing he’s quick enough to keep up with play.

What are your thoughts ahead of the League One season as a whole? Any potential dark horses for you?

Before the start of the transfer window I was expecting us to be just outside the playoffs. With the intentions Kenny is showing with his signings I can’t see any reason why we couldn’t push for a playoff spot. Not sure about dark horses however Bury are making some sound business this season.

Where will you finish?

Would it be arrogant to say in the playoffs? We’re the mighty Portsmouth we can do anything.

The Football Lab’s Verdict

Pitman adds attacking knowhow at Portsmouth, but League Two’s title-winners must adjust to Jackett’s more conservative style. With Stevens and Doyle leaving, a second promotion push may have to wait another year. 10th