Paul Merson: Pompey always have a chance when Brett Pitman is playing

Pompey have always got a chance of winning when Brett Pitman is playing.

Monday, 18th June 2018, 8:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 6:07 pm
Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

That is the verdict of Paul Merson, who stressed the importance of teams having a prolific marksman in their ranks.

Pitman enjoyed a fine maiden campaign at Fratton Park last season.

After moving to the Blues from Championship outfit Ipswich last summer, he scored 25 goals in all competitions.

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Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

The striker’s exploits in the final third saw him break the 20-goal barrier at Pompey – the first time a player has achieved that in 15 years.

The last Blues man to reach the landmark was Merson’s former PO4 team-mate Svetoslav Todorov.

The Bulgarian registered 26 times as Harry Redknapp’s side captured the Division One title in 2003.

Merson admitted he hasn’t steadfastly followed Pitman’s career.

But the ex-Pompey skipper knows how clinical the former AFC Bournemouth hitman is in the final third – which he believes is key to any side that wants to be successful.

Merson said: ‘Last season was a good season for him and he had a bit of time out of the team.

‘He is a goalscorer and when you have a goalscorer you have always got a chance – always.

‘I’m not saying I have followed his career right the way through.

‘But every time on Soccer Saturday his name comes up and you always pay attention.’

Pitman was regarded as a major coup when he was brought to Fratton Park in July of last season.

It has proved that way, with the Jersey-born ace establishing himself as one of League One’s most dangerous goalscorers.

Despite having spells out of the team, mostly through injury, Pitman ended with 24 goals in the division last term.

He finished just one strike behind golden boot winner Jack Marriott.

Although Merson lauded Pitman’s goalscoring prowess, he insisted the striker could not score as many goals as he did without decent service coming from midfield.

And the former England international believes that is a testament to Jackett’s troops.

Merson added: ‘It’s all about getting the service to players and their service must be decent.

‘They must have good players in midfield because every centre-forward needs someone to provide for them.’