Opinion: Portsmouth’s lesser-spotted Dennis can still make impact

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Pompey’s number eight was in fine company at the PMC Stadium.

Those on display against Oxford United reserves included eight with first-team experience this season.

Louis Dennis in pre-season action against the Hawks. Picture: Neil Marshall

Louis Dennis in pre-season action against the Hawks. Picture: Neil Marshall

Such familiar faces consisted of two possessing League Two title medals and three loanees from higher division clubs.

Then there was Louis Dennis.

Allocated squad number 18 following a summer arrival from Bromley, it’s a shirt still to be observed by the Fratton faithful during the current campaign.

Instead, reserve fixtures have solely offered him match action, the latest stop being the home of Baffins Milton Rovers on Monday night.

It was an occasion which saw the winger temporarily fitted with the number eight kit, during ongoing attempts to impress the watching Kenny Jackett.

There was a goal and plenty of other encouraging moments from Dennis, operating in the number 10 role he favours, to certainly occupy the attention of anyone present.

On 36 minutes, David Wheeler steered a header into the 25-year-old’s vicinity, with the forward then taking several touches before driving a left-footed shot towards the keeper’s near post.

Oxford’s Jack Stevens should have coped better, yet the effort was well struck from just outside the area to sufficiently find a way past.

It represented a goal in successive reserve outings for Dennis, who previously netted in a 1-1 draw at Reading earlier this month.

Of course, there had also been a double burst and impressive showing during a 3-0 Pompey XI victory at Gosport in July, albeit for a largely inexperienced line-up.

Such glimpses continue to demonstrate Dennis’ undoubted ability, irrespective of having yet to break into Jackett’s title-hunting first team.

Against Oxford, he once again looked bright, driving forward and revelling in the space and opportunity the number 10 role allows for any player armed with an attacking mindset.

However, of the 25 players named in Pompey squads in all competitions this season, only Dion Donohue and Dennis have still to make an appearance. With Donohue’s absence comprehensively dictated by injury.

The present form of Jamal Lowe, Ronan Curtis and Gareth Evans sees them dominate the attacking-three midfield options in Jackett’s selection.

Rivalling them from the bench are Wheeler and Joe Mason, with the injured Andre Green having featured twice.

Next in the queue is Dennis, included in two Blues squads but still to be utilised.

Desperate for a chance, yet for the moment restricted to impressing in somebody else’s number eight shirt.

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