Cardiff City’s Omar Bogle leading the loan while Portsmouth patience important to keep pressure on top two
Lewis Mason takes a look back on Saturday’s 2-0 win over Scunthorpe and assesses the main talking points.
Leading the loan
Omar Bogle’s superb start to life on the south coast continued in the 2-0 win over Scunthorpe.
The Cardiff City loanee has made the most significant impact of the Blues’ six January additions so far.
Bogle scored his fourth goal in eight appearances with a smart swivelling finish to break the deadlock in the 71st minute.
The striker has proved crucial in Kenny Jackett’s side’s surge towards the Championship – and few could argue against Bogle adding to his tally in the final eight League One matches.
Andy Cannon and Bryn Morris have both struggled with injury since their arrivals for undisclosed fees from Rochdale and Shrewsbury respectively.
Meanwhile, loanees James Vaughan, Lloyd Isgrove and Viv Solomon-Otabor have found regular minutes hard to come by.
But Bogle is the exception in terms of those who arrived at PO4 midway through the campaign.
The former Grimsby forward has featured from the outset in the past three Pompey games when fit.
And Bogle now looks to be Jackett’s preferred choice to lead the line as the Blues’ Championship charge reaches a critical period.
Keeping the pressure on
Pompey’s automatic promotion chances looked slim following the defeat at Charlton earlier this month.
After losing 2-1 at Lee Bowyer’s Addicks, there was a eight-point gap between the Blues and the top two.
However, successive wins in the space of a week have seen Jackett’s troops – in fourth – close the gap on second-placed Barnsley to just four points.
The stuttering Tykes have drawn four of their previous six matches, with Pompey looking to build some momentum in order to capitalise should Daniel Stendel’s men continue to drop points.
Although the Blues must also rely on third-placed Sunderland slipping up to turn around a current two-point deficit between the teams – and Jack Ross’ men have played a game fewer.
Jackett stressed all his team can do is continue to apply the pressure following the win over the Iron, which is what they’ll aim to do in the coming weeks.
The Blues are no strangers to strong finishes in recent seasons.
A surging end to the 2016-17 League Two campaign saw them crowned champions, while the Great Escape to ensure Premier League survival 13 years ago is still vivid.
So despite Pompey being outsiders to claim an automatic promotion place, there is still plenty of hope.
The Blues were forced to persevere before eventually finding a way through a steely Scunthorpe rearguard.
And Pompey may have to adopt a patient approach in the final eight league games in the race to reach the Championship.
Jamal Lowe had missed a couple of gilt-edged chances prior to Omar Bogle’s opener 19 minutes from time.
Former Hampton & Richmond winger Lowe did finally get the goal his performance deserved to ensure victory for Jackett’s men in the closing stages.
But prior to Bogle’s opener, it looked as though Pompey may struggle to find a way through.
With Stuart McCall’s side happy to sit back, the Fratton faithful were growing increasingly frustrated as the hosts could not breach Iron’s back line.
And it’s something supporters may have to get used to in the final run-in.
No team is going to roll over and hand Pompey more crucial points.
So the players, along with the fans, will have to remain calm should Jackett’s troops not break the deadlock early in games.