Gaffer: Portsmouth urgently need to rediscover spark and energy

Gaffer for a Day, Brett Harley, aged 38 from Gosport, delivers his verdict on Pompey’s 1-1 draw with Doncaster.

By Neil Allen
Sunday, 3rd February 2019, 9:45 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 10:07 pm
Gaffer for a Day, Brett Harley, believes Tom Naylor was Pompey's man of the match against Doncaster. Picture: Joe Pepler
Gaffer for a Day, Brett Harley, believes Tom Naylor was Pompey's man of the match against Doncaster. Picture: Joe Pepler

What are your thoughts on the draw?

We need to rediscover that little bit of spark and energy – and look a bit more devastating again.

Our two wide men, Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe, need a break, particularly Curtis. The spark from the first half of the season has gone, while the overlapping full-backs no longer give us that width.

I don’t want to panic, Doncaster are chasing the play-offs, while we are very likely to get into them.

We are also in the mix for automatic promotion, but must turn it around pretty quickly to get us on a good run. Certainly I’m not as positive as I was just before Christmas.

 

Who stood out for you?

At this moment, through this poor run, Tom Naylor has been our most consistent player, performing his job well. It often goes unnoticed how hard he battles and he gets my vote.

Matt Clarke was close to it, he carried on driving forward when we probably needed impetus, but wasn’t at the standard defensively that he usually is.

For me, Naylor is a big player for us and on Saturday wore the captain’s armband, so was asked to cope with a different kind of pressure.

In the FA Cup against QPR he looked like a Championship player and really stood out, definitely not out of place at that level. I’m sure many appreciate what he does for the team and how good he is for us.

 

Awful to see the injury concerns over Jack Whatmough.

You know a player is worried when his hand goes up and is waving to come off.

Although I took a little bit of heart from him being able to walk round the pitch rather than being stretchered off.

Like myself he’s a Gosport lad, and will know what he heard and felt at that moment. He is aware better than most what is cause for concern with his body.

Christian Burgess came on and made the mistake, but he has been unlucky, thrown in from the cold after sat on the bench for most of the season, and was caught out.

 

What did you make of Brett Pitman’s squad omission?

It was a shock, although I can understand Kenny Jackett wanting two strikers on the bench, which were James Vaughan and Oli Hawkins.

Perhaps Pitman could be seen as cover of the number 10, though, but Gareth Evans was chosen for that.

If we play 4-4-2, I can see him playing off a big target man and showing his best form again. But if it’s constant long balls up the pitch, that game is not built for him at all.

I see Omar Bogle as an upgrade on Hawkins, he is more mobile, and would start Pitman alongside him, he deserves it.

 

Craig MacGillivray 6

Nathan Thompson 7

Jack Whatmough 6 (Christian Burgess 6)

Matt Clarke 7

Lee Brown 6

Tom Naylor 7

Dion Donohue 6 (James Vaughan 7)

Ben Close 6

Jamal Lowe 6

Omar Bogle 7

Ronan Curtis 6