McGee: Pompey players right behind surprise system switch

A system switch honed during two days on the training ground.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 9:00 am
Luke McGee applauds the Pompey fans after the game. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Luke McGee believes Kenny Jackett’s surprise formation change was vindicated through Pompey’s 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe.

The Blues’ boss ditched his usual 4-2-3-1 in favour of Jamal Lowe and Dion Donohue as wing-backs.

Elsewhere, Christian Burgess, Matt Clarke and Oli Hawkins formed a back three, with right-back Nathan Thompson asked to play in midfield.

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Luke McGee shows his frustration after Pompey concede the equaliser. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey possessed the lead at the interval – Jamal Lowe’s 15th-minute opener reflecting an impressive first period for the hosts, with Connor Ronan magnificent.

Yet Scunthorpe, sitting fourth in League One, claimed a 53rd-minute leveller through Kevin van Veen and the match finished honours even.

McGee himself weighed in with an excellent point-blank stop from Josh Morris to ensure the point.

Regardless, he felt the system change helped gain the result.

Luke McGee shows his frustration after Pompey concede the equaliser. Picture: Joe Pepler

The keeper said: ‘As a goalkeeper, it is about whoever is in front of you, not the system. When you think about it, say when the right side is attacking, it is going to be right full-back forward, the left one comes round and vice versa. That doesn’t change.

‘It’s just about adapting really and I felt we did that very, very well, everyone knew their job and stuck to it.

‘We had not worked on it long to be fair but the gaffer said he felt like it would help us against Scunthorpe and we get behind him over any decision and believe in it.

‘There wasn’t anyone who didn’t fancy it or turned their nose up at it. Everyone was 100 per cent in for it.

‘Maybe it was a fair result but disappointing on a personal level to go one up and then to concede.

‘I felt we did everything we could but it was a good finish from their striker.

‘With that save in the first half, I didn’t really know too much about it. I have been working on my positioning and then to stick any arm out, which I did.

‘We don’t get too many draws. The gaffer says he wants zeros and ones conceded every game and the more we do that the more points we pick up and keep ticking along nicely.

‘Saturday was a very good point against a very good side who are well organised and all know their jobs.

‘It’s hard to break them down but I felt we did that, while not giving them too many chances.’

It was perhaps fitting Lowe registered his first goal since mid-September after signing a new Pompey deal days earlier.

The 23-year-old is now contracted to Fratton Park until the summer of 2020 and produced an assured – and goal-scoring – display in the unfamiliar role of right wing-back.

McGee added: ‘Jamal definitely deserved the new deal.

‘I am not too sure who is up and who isn’t but it’s great news for the club.

‘He’s played a lot of games at non-league and, by all accounts, was fantastic last year. Now he has really kicked on again this year.

‘Jamal is a hard, hard worker who is one of the first in every single day and, fair play, he deserves it.

‘No-one begrudges him that and he has now got his just rewards.’