Dead-ball delight for Portsmouth boss over new weapon

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Pompey’s set-piece expertise has added a fresh dimension to their attacking capabilities.

Kenny Jackett is delighted with the Blues’ new-found productivity from dead-ball situations during their charge to League One’s summit.

Gareth Evans has excelled from set-piece delivery for Pompey this season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Gareth Evans has excelled from set-piece delivery for Pompey this season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Delivery from corners and free-kicks were often a source of criticism from Pompey’s boss during his maiden Fratton Park season.

However, his side have proven considerably more potent from such situations this term, led by Gareth Evans’ superb set-piece contribution.

Against Scunthorpe, Ronan Curtis also provided a supply line, his right-wing corner playing a role in Tom Naylor’s opener in the 2-1 success.

And Jackett recognises that crucial improvement.

Tom Naylor celebrates scoring against Scunthorpe following Ronan Curtis' right-wing corner. Picture: Joe Pepler

Tom Naylor celebrates scoring against Scunthorpe following Ronan Curtis' right-wing corner. Picture: Joe Pepler

He said: ‘It’s not rocket science, but it needs to have enough to get over the first man in the near-post area and then be able to come down before the far post.

‘Good consistent delivery is required between the posts, keeping it away from the keeper. It’s a basic – and during a season if you can do the majority of those people will get chances.

‘Last year we had some fantastic deliveries and then some 15 yards off or 15 yards over, giving nobody a chance.

‘We have a number of people that work on them, such as Gareth and Ronan, while Lee Brown is the only available left-footer for the in-swinger.

‘We do work hard at them, but the key is consistent delivery into the area where, if you are making the runs and attacking the ball, more or less you know where it’s going.

‘If you are never sure whether it’s going to be fizzed in low and hard at the near post or hung up high, you are guessing on your runs.

‘However, if you can generally target that second six-yard box on a consistent basis and get three or four people to go in there with some ability, some power and some belief that it’s going to be delivered, then it can be successful.

‘Last season I was critical, we had spells where it was very, very good and others nowhere near the targeted area.​​​​​​​’

Certainly Pompey's key performer from set-pieces this season has been Evans.

Jackett added: ‘In terms of setting him a task, he will work at it and generally overcome it, that’s been the case.

‘He’s getting the balance right between putting the ball in as hard as you possibly can into a good area.’