Blackpool v Pompey: Pre-match talking points

Pompey new-boy David Wheeler brings pedigree
Pompey new-boy David Wheeler brings pedigree
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Pompey writer Jordan Cross assesses the big issues in the build-up to Pompey’s trip to Blackpool


Formation Factor

It's going to be intriguing to see how Kenny Jackett approaches the game in terms of line-up and formation.

David Wheeler's arrival this week adds a fascinating extra layer to that debate among Pompey fans.

Kenny Jackett stated Wheeler is an option for both flanks.

But in Wheeler, Gareth Evans, Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis, Jackett has four right footers for wide areas.

The Pompey boss was convinced to use left-bacl Brandon Haunstrup further forward on the left to give his side balance in a 4-4-2 formation against Luton.

Even with the modern-day penchant for inside-out wingers that appears a tad lop-sided.

A consideration could be a return to the 4-2-3-1 used for much of last season.

Curtis is known to favour the number 10 position, or ACM for the Fifa generation, while both Wheeler and Lowe could slot in there.

You could argue there's little difference between the 4-4-2 and 4-2-3-1 formations, with the second striker in a withdrawn role.

Jackett's approach is one of the main Pompey sub-plots going into the game, though.

Tangerine Nightmare

Is this the best time to take on Blackpool or the worst?

On the surface of things, the Tangerines looking ripe for the picking after another chaotic week at Bloomfield Road.

But a wounded animal is a dangerous beast, and Pompey fans will be reticent about how their opponents react from the fallout.

There's little doubt, however, Gary Bowyer's exit is a big loss after the impact he's made in two years at the club, his departure appearing to be a case of him becoming disillusioned with the continuing problems.

Normally the bounce comes when a boss who has a fractured dressing room departs. With a newly-assembled team this summer that's not the case here.

Still, assistant Terry McPhillips will undoubtedly try to create a siege mentality amid a dark period.

He certainly has a challenge on to galvanise the players, with battered Blackpool fans planning a pre-match protest at the well-publicised manner in which their club has been abused.

Pompey have to pose the right questions of an outfit teetering on the brink.

Wheels On Fire? 

The need for extra creativity in Pompey's midfield has been abundantly clear in pre-season.

David Wheeler is the man Kenny Jackett has turned to this week in an effort to fill that void in verve.

There has been a positive reaction to the 27-year-old joining on loan for the season from QPR.

No doubt two impressive goals in consecutive seasons in Exeter colours contributed to the noises of approval as the deal was sealed on Tuesday.

And 21 finishes on the Grecians' charge to the League Two play-off final last year makes for impressive figures.

Injury issues restricted Wheeler to 11 appearances for the Rs last term, but you don't' take a talent from the Championship with his pedigree and use him as a bit-part player.

Which will make is interesting to see where the former Staines man is utilised to get the best out of his ability.

It's fair to say, though, hopes are high about the impact he can make this term.