Main’s versatility can strike Pompey chord

Curtis Main. Picture: Joe Pepler
Curtis Main. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker Picture: Joe Pepler

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A striker first and foremost but a confident and versatile attacking threat comfortable playing in a number of forward roles.

That’s Curtis Main’s assessment of what he has to offer Paul Cook’s Pompey side this season.

And the 24-year-old, who joined the Blues on a two-year deal in the summer from Doncaster, is keen to build on an impressive first outing for the Fratton Park club.

Main led the line in Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system in the EFL Cup first-round tie at Coventry on Tuesday night – opening the scoring from the penalty spot on his debut.

Sadly, though, the visitors were unable to protect their half-time advantage at the Ricoh Arena as the Sky Blues edged through 3-2 after extra-time.

Main departed the action five minutes shy of the 90, having taken up a position as a deep-lying forward in behind substitute striker Conor Chaplin.

And the new arrival insists he is happy to play in any attacking role for the Blues – although he knows where his preference lies.

Main said: ‘First and foremost I am a striker, so I want to be around the goal as that is where my best position is to put the ball in the back of the net.

‘But I am equally comfortable playing in behind the centre forward and obviously I am capable of filling roles on both the left and right.

‘I am confident and comfortable I can do a job anywhere across the attacking range.’

While Main yesterday told The News of his determination to earn a starting spot in Cook’s team, the former Middlesbrough man is under no illusions as to the task he faces.

And with the Blues able to call on an impressive pool of strikers – including Main, Chaplin, Michael Smith and Noel Hunt, the former is hopeful displays like the one he delivered at the Ricoh will go some way to catching the manager’s eye when it comes to match-day selection.

‘The squad is very strong and the manager picks the starting line-up he thinks can go and get the result the club needs,’ said Main.

‘If that’s not me one week then so be it but if I then get a chance to come off the bench, I have to affect the game.

‘Or if I get a chance the following game then it is another chance and opportunity to affect the game and show my qualities and why I should be in the side.

‘The manager is the manager for a reason and he makes the decisions, so we will go off that.’

Reflecting on his Blues bow at Coventry, Main insists a visiting side showing 11 changes from the opening-day 1-1 League Two draw with Carlisle did themselves proud at the Ricoh Arena.

He added: ‘I thought it was a good exercise.

‘All of the lads who came in didn’t play at the weekend, so it was a good opportunity to show what we can do and I thought everybody performed really well and looked strong.

‘If you asked the Coventry players, they will tell you they had been in a game.

‘That has now put the pressure on the lads who are in the first team, which can only be a good thing.’