Comment: Doyle loss a big blow to Pompey promotion push

Strikers will always be judged on their goals.

Friday, 31st March 2017, 4:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:53 pm
Eoin Doyle will miss Saturday's trip to Hartlepool. Picture: Joe Pepler

Leading the forward line, their principal duty is to put the ball in the back of the net.

Eoin Doyle hasn’t had his goalscoring boots on since arriving at Fratton Park.

The Irishman was brought in to be the answer to Pompey’s goal drought problem.

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Doyle’s arrival from Preston on loan was plenty exciting for the Fratton faithful.

The Dublin-born forward was the talisman for Paul Cook when the duo were at Chesterfield.

Doyle bagged 21 goals in League One during the 2014-15 season and he formed a deadly partnership with Gary Roberts at the Proact Stadium.

There was immediate pressure on him when he joined the Blues and he’s scored just two goals from 11 appearances.

Doyle misses tomorrow’s trip to Hartlepool after limping off with a groin injury in the first half of the 2-1 against Newport County last week.

And his presence spearheading Cook’s attack will not go unforgotten.

The Pompey gaffer has waxed lyrical on the impact of Doyle on plenty of occasions.

His movement is the theme Cook always pinpoints.

‘It’s not just what he does as a player, it’s his effect on a team,’ the 50-year-old said.

‘Eoin is comfortable stretching the game and runs in behind people.’

Some of the Fratton faithful will be eager to see the possibility of Conor Chaplin coming back into the side at Hartlepool.

But Doyle’s impact during his short spell has significantly bolstered Pompey’s promotion hopes.

When the 29-year-old joined, the Blues sat fifth in League Two.

Doyle has played a distinct part in getting Cook and Co back on the right track.

Before his arrival, the Blues had a win ratio of 57 per cent and averaged 1.48 goals per game.

But with Doyle in the team, Cook’s outfit have been in a rich vein of form.

Pompey have increased their win ratio to 62 per cent and now bag an average of 1.75 goals per game, and it’s full steam ahead towards League One.

There has been plenty of praises sung about Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith in recent weeks.

And Doyle’s role has contributed to Bennett and Naismith being given shots in the arm.

Before the Dubliner’s arrival, Bennett had just a single league goal to his name.

Fast forward two months and he’s increased his tally to five.

Naismith’s turnaround can be nothing but admired and he’s scored eight league goals this term.

Half of those have come after Doyle’s arrival, albeit the former Sligo man was off the pitch when Naismith scored the Blues’ second against Newport County last Saturday.

Doyle has not been relentless in front of goal like many expected him to be.

But his movement and ability to create openings has given Pompey an upsurge - and he’ll be missed against Hartlepool.