Jackett: Why Pitman is no longer Pompey’s number 10

Brett Pitman celebrates his winner against Blackpool. Picture: Joe Pepler
Brett Pitman celebrates his winner against Blackpool. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Christian Burgess. Picture: Neil Marshall

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Kenny Jackett believes team evolution has forced Brett Pitman to ditch the number 10 role.

Instead Pompey’s boss is convinced his skipper is at his most effective while operating as a lone striker.

While he has some ball-playing ability and brain to be able to link the play, in the end he needs to be between those posts and in the box for as much of the game as possible

Kenny Jackett

While the goals have continued to flow for the prolific Pitman, his remit in the Blues’ 4-2-3-1 system has recently been adapted.

The former Ipswich talent served behind a main striker earlier in the season, scoring nine goals.

However, a change of heart has prompted Jackett to instead employ others in the number 10 role, pushing his captain further forward.

The outcome has been an additional three goals, including winners in successive league victories.

Pitman will again lead the attack for tonight’s trip to Peterborough (7.45pm).

And Jackett believes his top-scorer’s new role can reap more goals for his side.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘What Brett has brought to this club has been a goal threat.

‘But coming too deep, drifting out wide – like the second striker does – takes him out of an area where he is our most dangerous player.

‘While he has some ball-playing ability and brain to be able to link the play, he needs to be between the posts and in the box as much as possible.

‘Then, when the chances come into there, he is around to score the goals.

‘That is the reason for it and the way the team has evolved and developed – we want him in that box.

‘It’s not that you don’t take shots from the edge of the area, but the percentage of scoring from outside the box is obviously higher than inside.

‘All the main goalscorers down the years score their goals from inside the box.

‘To capitalise on his strengths, he has the best chance in that particular position to be the one furthest forward, the one taking the responsibility – the one with the ball falling to his feet to test out his technique to be able to finish.

‘We will see if he stays in that role, it very much depends on development of other players.

‘And in terms of a slightly creative role where he can score as well, I do feel we have other players who can play that (number 10) role.’

Kyle Bennett, Kal Naismith, Conor Chaplin and Oli Hawkins have served as the number 10 in the Blues’ past four matches.

And Jackett recognises he is not short of options to operate behind Pitman.

He added: ‘On Saturday in the first half it was Kyle Bennett, in the second half it was Kal Naismith.

‘They are different types of number 10. Bennett is a very talented player.

‘Getting him into the game and imposing himself on the game is difficult sometimes.

‘Bennett, in terms of close control and pace, is up there with anyone in the squad.

‘Naismith is a bit more powerful and better in the air.

‘There are different types – and Conor Chaplin is another.’

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