Will Rooney looks at three talking points ahead of Pompey’s game against Fleetwood tomorrow at Fratton Park.
KENNEDY BIDS TO CONTINUE HIS SUPERB START
Matty Kennedy has added a significant amount of quality to Kenny Jackett’s squad and the Fratton fans are relishing the chance of seeing another marauding performance from him.
Granted, wingers often lack cast-iron consistency, irrespective of what level they play at, and there will be several off-days to come from the Scot.
But Kennedy has registered three fine performances since his deadline-day move from Cardiff and has created a real buzz among supporters.
The former Everton attacker is yet to reach his pinnacle as he still adapts to his new surroundings – it’s a mouth-watering prospect of how good he will be when he fully settles down on the south coast.
Kennedy’s maiden Pompey goal in the Northampton defeat was another sign of the quality he possesses.
He displayed brilliant balance to keep down a half-volley in the 49th minute beyond a stretching Matt Ingram.
His ability to fire quick crosses into the box can catch defences out, while his team-mates have likely been working on drills in training to get on the end of his balls across.
The 22-year-old is also fully committed to attacking his man, while a fledgling partnership with Damien McCrory down the left wing is blossoming.
CHALK AND CHEESE OPTIONS
Kenny Jackett’s forward options have been one of the focal talking points of the season to date.
Brett Pitman is a regular in the No10 role, while the position spearheading the front line has been rotated.
Conor Chaplin and Oliver Hawkins are going head-to-head to lead Pompey’s attack against Fleetwood.
The former is desperate to become a regular starter and has netted two fine goals off the bench against Wigan and AFC Wimbledon respectively.
However, Hawkins was the subject of a move from Dagenham & Redbridge on deadline day.
He started ahead of Chaplin at Kingsmeadow last weekend, before being replaced by the Worthing talent after a clash of heads with Callum Kennedy.
Hawkins has to be given the green light to play after missing Tuesday’s trip to Sixfields as a result of the injury at Kingsmeadow. If he is fit, he will likely feature at some point.
The duo are chalk and cheese, each possessing different attributes – which isn’t a bad thing for Jackett to have at his disposal.
Chaplin is quick, tenacious and has a killer instinct in front of goal when given half a chance.
Meanwhile, Hawkins offers Jackett size and strength, while his goalscoring record in non-league should not be sniffed at.
CHANCES MUST BE TAKEN
Pompey had 21 efforts on goal in their defeat at Northampton on Tuesday.
Cobblers goalkeeper Matt Ingram was beaten just once by a fine strike from Matty Kennedy in the 49th minute.
Opportunities went begging for Kenny Jackett’s men at Sixfields. Jamal Lowe had two gilt-edged chances but failed to hit the target on both occasions.
Christian Burgess also had a decent header stopped by the feet of Ingram, while he diverted a cross onto the roof of the net late on.
Lowe has been working on his finishing this week in training, practising headers with goalkeeper coach John Keeley to fine-tune his prowess in front of goal.
The winger is getting in the right areas and it will soon click for him in the danger zone.
Jackett wants to turn Pompey into a force in League One.
The signs are goodwith a commanding win at AFC Wimbledon and an unlucky defeat at Northampton
But the Blues will not be a success in the third tier if they are not clinical in front of goal.
Fleetwood are vying for a play-off place again this season.
With many believing that’s where Pompey should be aiming, three points against a potential play-off rival is essential.