KENNY JACKETT has been moved to defend his summer transfer business.
Derry City’s Ronan Curtis, Bromley’s Louis Dennis and Shrewsbury keeper Craig MacGillivray are the players to put pen to paper so far.
Those men tick the box of young, hungry additions with a determination to show they can make it in the third tier of the English game.
But some fans have been frustrated there hasn’t been new faces arriving with greater success from a higher level. They are looking for a marquee signing with proven ability, similar to the arrival of Brett Pitman last summer.
Jackett acknowledged in The News that’s what some supporters are looking for, and his squad’s make-up leans towards the youthful side.
And that is a statement underlined by the facts, with Pompey short on experience at the level they’re aiming to conquer next term
There’s no doubt that looking at figures reinforces the youthful make-up of the squad. The current average age of the 19 senior men Jackett has at his disposal is a youthful 23.94.
There are no players in that group above the age of 30, with Danny Rose, Brett Pitman and Gareth Evans the relative elder statesmen.
Adam May and Alex Bass are the puppies of the group at 20, with Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain waiting to see what the future holds as he recovers from a broken leg and third-year scholars Dan Smith and Matt Casey being assessed in pre-season.
But perhaps it’s in the amount off football played by the group that a fair reflection of the experience of the Blues’ squad is garnered.
The existing players have totalled 2,548 senior appearances at league clubs. Breaking that down delivers a mean total of 134.1 games per player.
The variation is vast among the Pompey squad on that front. Curtis has yet to play a game in English football after operating in the League of Ireland, while keeper Bass has picked up three senior outings and Dennis nine games when a young player with Dagenham & Redbridge.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are five men who have totalled more than 200 appearances with a league club. Unsurprisingly, it’s the oldest players leading the way with Pitman (493 games), Evans (460) and Rose (330) followed by Nathan Thompson (227) and Christian Burgess (207).
The calls from fans for players with experience of League One is a credible shout. The average games at League One level and above comes down to 65.3, with just Pitman (361 games), Thompson (201) and Burgess (146) above 100 games at League One and above. Revealingly, without the trio, it drops to just 33.3 matches.
Jackett spoke of the need to bring down the average age of his squad last term. The evidence presently is he will aim to deliver League One promotion without a wealth of experience at the level.