Gallen: No need to recruit new Pompey number 10

Joe Gallen is convinced Pompey's number 10 options do not require bolstering in January's transfer window.

Friday, 29th December 2017, 6:00 am
Conor Chaplin, Gareth Evans and Kal Naismith have all played in the number 10 role for Pompey this season. Picture: Joe Pepler

But he has challenged the existing pretenders to finally grasp the vacant spot.

For all the Blues’ impressive progress this season, they have still to succeed in filling the number 10 role.

Brett Pitman, Kyle Bennett, Conor Chaplin and even Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans have occupied the position under Kenny Jackett.

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Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gallen believes Kal Naismith has been the biggest hit, although he remains sidelined through injury for the next two matches.

In the meantime, opportunities continue to be granted – but the assistant boss has played down the need to recruit.

Gallen said: ‘In terms of the number 10, it’s fair to say the lads who have come on as sub have found the game has opened up in the second half and there is more space.

‘It has been rotated around a little bit and we haven’t found who that person is.

Pompey assistant manager Joe Gallen. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘It looks like it could be Kal but unfortunately he has been injured.

‘There are a number of options but nobody has quite nailed it.

‘It probably isn’t one (a position) we would like to strengthen.

‘While nobody has claimed it, Kal has shown some really good signs there before getting injured. That could be him, it probably is.

‘Conor and Kyle have played quite well at times from there – but it’s still up for grabs.

‘Nobody has said “this is my position, this is my shirt” yet all are really good players who can contribute.

‘There are enough number 10s around, we have enough and they are all good.

‘Have any of them absolutely nailed it apart from Kal? Maybe not but they have all contributed a lot to some good results of late.

‘I would urge one of them to come out of the pack.

‘In terms of signing anyone for that role, though, I think we have enough.’

Naismith has missed the past five matches, yet has returned to running outside during his rehabilitation.

In the meantime, Gallen is continuing to seek the right candidate for the job.

He added: ‘Most people would say the number 10 must create and score goals – and if they did that then they will probably get into the team.

‘But there is also a defensive side to it, which shouldn’t go unnoticed.

‘They need to be involved in the middle third to pick up second balls, they cannot just wait to be put through and score. They have to be involved in the process of winning the ball.

‘Most teams have a deep-lying midfielder and the number 10’s job is when that person has the ball to stop him from switching play and passing it forward.

‘Normally, if you have a centre-forward as a number 10 they don’t quite do that job that well, yet they may score and may get more shots in.

‘We are looking for someone to do both sides of that job.’