Gallen: We couldn’t resist striker’s Portsmouth recall

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Joe Gallen admitted Brett Pitman’s Pompey recall was irresistible following his goalscoring entrance against Wycombe.

For Saturday’s trip to Rochdale, the striker was handed his first league start since the opening day of the season after losing his place to Oli Hawkins.

Brett Pitman celebrates marking his 50th Pompey appearance with the second goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

Brett Pitman celebrates marking his 50th Pompey appearance with the second goal in Saturday's 3-1 win over Rochdale. Picture: Joe Pepler

On the occasion of his 50th Blues appearance, Pitman netted one and grabbed an assist in the 3-1 triumph which lifted Kenny Jackett’s men to the top of League One.

Last season’s 25-goal top scorer has now netted in four successive outings, including the previous weekend with a header as a substitute against Wycombe.

And it was that contribution from open play rather than courtesy of the penalty spot which convinced Pompey to name him in the starting line-up.

Assistant boss Gallen said: ‘Oli has played, played well and we’ve won a lot of games – he had a good bit of backing from the manager.

The Hawks are dejected after Solihull Moors net a stoppage-time winner. Picture: Keith Woodland

The Hawks are dejected after Solihull Moors net a stoppage-time winner. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘Overall we’ve got three good number nines. We haven’t seen Joe Mason just yet, but I have worked with him before and he is a very good player.

‘Brett came off the bench and scored in open play last week – and when he starts to hit the goal trail there is a feeling that he is going to keep it going.

‘It’s not to to say we wouldn’t have won with Oli, but when Brett put the ball in the net for the second goal it showed the manager got it right.

‘Personally, I think scoring from open play is quite important. Scoring penalties is also very important, but scoring from open play is slightly different and there's a sense that after last week Brett is fully focused, ready to score some goals.

‘Lots of players say they have nothing to prove but I disagree, you are only as good as the next game.

‘We all have something to prove on a daily basis. We have good competition in this squad, they compete with each other every day in training and it can get quite fiery at times.

‘Oli is hot on Brett’s heels and Joe is hot on the heels of both of them. Competition is great.’

Pitman has now scored 29 goals in 50 appearances since joining from Ipswich in the summer of 2017.

But Gallen believes it’s essential players, in general, shouldn’t rely on past successes.

He added: 'You cannot base things on what they have done before. 

‘You have to base it on what they are going to do in the future and I think everyone, including myself, has everything to prove on a daily basis.

'The number nine has a certain role and that role is to make the ball stick, holding it up, consistently, linking play, winning enough headers and creating chances and scoring some goals.

'As a number nine, you need to see the ball hit the net at certain times, so we have won a lot of games with Oli, we won on Saturday with Brett – and Joe Mason is hot on everyone's heels.’