Will Rooney looks at three talking points heading into Pompey’s friendly at Bognor today...
FIRST LOOK AT NEW ARRIVALS
Another pre-season friendly, another chance to get a glimpse of Pompey’s new talents.
It’s been a busy week at Fratton Park with two fresh faces arriving.
Brett Pitman’s signature can be regarded a shrewd piece of business by Kenny Jackett and Mark Catlin.
The 29-year-old has scored goals at every level he’s played at, including 14 during the 2014-15 campaign to fire Bournemouth to Championship glory.
Although he struggled at Ipswich, Mick McCarthy’s philosophy did not complement Pitman’s style.
However, with Jackett looking to play attacking football along the deck, the Blues’ new striker should slot in nicely.
Pitman is a natural goalscorer, which Pompey craved under Paul Cook, and he’ll be looking to fire on all cylinders on debut against Bognor.
Luke McGee looks set to take over the No1 spot in between the sticks.
Having been at Spurs since he was 10, the 21-year-old has learned from top-class goalkeepers during his career.
Hugo Lloris, Brad Friedel and Michel Vorm are just three names who McGee has studied closely.
He would have gained a great deal from the trio and their knowledge would have rubbed off on the shot-stopper.
CENTRE-BACK SPOT UP FOR GRABS
Matt Clarke has suffered pre-season heartbreak for a second successive season.
He limped out at Westleigh Park with a groin strain and will miss the first month of the season.
With new boy Nathan Thompson also sidelined for at least four weeks, it means Christian Burgess will be partnered by Jack Whatmough or Tom Davies at centre-back for the League One curtain-raiser against Rochdale.
The former is held in high regard by Pompey and the Fratton faithful.
Still only 20, Whatmough has a significant future ahead in P04. He’s a defender with ability in abundance and will be raring to take his chance in the absence of Clarke.
Meanwhile, Davies has a point to prove. He featured just 12 times in League Two last term and has been linked with a move away from Fratton Park.
However, the former Accrington Stanley man has been in fine fettle during pre-season.
He netted a bullet header against Salisbury and also replaced Clarke at the Hawks instead of Whatmough.
CHANGE IN SYSTEM
With Pitman arriving at Fratton Park, Jackett could champion a 4-4-2 system at Nyewood Lane.
The Blues boss continued with his predecessors 4-2-3-1 formation against Salisbury and the Hawks.
However, a Pompey XI at Poole Town on Tuesday evening under Joe Gallen played a 4-4-2 system successfully, with the visitors winning 6-3.
Jackett is expected to let Conor Chaplin off his leash this campaign. However, the Worthing talent is more effective with a partner up alongside him – Pitman looks the natural candidate.
A 4-4-2 system spearheaded by Chaplin and Pitman means a fight for places out wide.
Kyle Bennett, Kal Naismith, Carl Baker, Milan Lalkovic, Gary Roberts and Jamal Lowe will all be scrapping for a spot on the flanks and must prove their point.