Crucial Portsmouth find swift replacement for departed Aston Villa loanee
It was a phone call Kenny Jackett would have been dreading – especially in the current circumstances.
But Andre Green has been recalled from his loan spell to Aston Villa, catching a fair few Pompey fans by surprise – and the manager, by all accounts!
The winger returns to his parent club after what Villa supporters will regard as a successful period for him on the south coast.
Green scored five goals in 12 appearances, having chiefly being used as an impact substitute.
Yet while he failed to take his opportunities when handed starts in League One – flattering to deceive against Shrewsbury and Blackpool – he was always a liveware when introduced to change a game.
In fact, there couldn’t have been many better players off the bench in the third tier this season than Green.
So not is only is Jackett losing a talent with the ability to instantly impact on proceedings, he’s witnessing his already diminishing forward options being lightened even further.
And that’s a cause of concern as the League One leaders approach the business end of the campaign.
The Pompey boss had a surplus of attacking players during the first half of the season.
Such was the superb form of Ronan Curtis, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans that loanees Green and David Wheeler rarely got a look in.
Meanwhile, Joe Mason and Louis Dennis were frequently being left out of match-day squads altogether.
Last season’s 25-goal top-scorer, Brett Pitman, also had to settle being a bit-part player, with Jackett opting to use Oli Hawkins as his attacking focal point until his recent calf injury.
January has provided much change in Jackett’s options, however.
Obviously, midfeidler Ben Thompson being recalled by Millwall represents the most devastating blow.
But Mason’s return to Wolves, Hawkins’ current injury and now Green’s departure has added to Jackett’s list of new year woes.
So assessing Jackett’s forward options going into Saturday’s game at Oxford, and he’s all of a sudden got a much smaller pool of talent to choose from.
That’s includes recent arrival Andy Cannon, who the boss may be earmarking the former Rochdale man for a deeper midfield role.
Dennis continues to be denied a maiden League One outing, while on-loan QPR winger David Wheeler is still to display his full prowess.
There’s no denying the fact that Pompey have been impressive in the final third this season, but last Saturday’s defeat to Blackpool proves Curtis and Lowe will have their off days.
Jackett must, therefore, swiftly seek a replacement for Green and ensure the Blues once again have enough goalscoring potency to maintain their title charge.