Pompey coach: Duo can cope with favoured formation

Nicke Kabamba, left, during a training session with Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery
Nicke Kabamba, left, during a training session with Pompey Picture: Colin Farmery
Lassana Diarra in action for Pompey

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Nicke Kabamba and Jamal Lowe can thrive in Paul Cook’s favoured Pompey system.

That is the verdict of Ian Foster, following the double act’s eye-catching performance against Norwich under-23s.

Pompey reserves lined-up in the 4-2-3-1 formation at a foggy Westleigh Park on Monday night.

That involved Kabamba featuring as the lone striker, while Lowe operated in the hole behind as part of the attacking three.

The Premier League Cup fixture resulted in a 4-0 success for the Blues. Lowe bagged a hat-trick, while Kabamba crowned his maiden appearance with a goal.

Cook introduced a 4-4-2 system for the recent first-team victory over Leyton Orient and was set to retain that formation for the trip to Crawley before its postponement.

Yet 4-2-3-1 remains the preference of Pompey’s boss – and Foster is confident the non-league arrivals can adapt to its demands.

The Blues’ first-team coach said: ‘Obviously, Nicke is a nine, that is what he is, he’s going to play up there.

‘You hope he has a little bit of everything. He’s a big lad who can stretch the game, can link the play and can score goals. If he can do that in the first team then we will all be delighted.

‘Against Norwich you could see he pulls off, holds the ball up, he can bring Jamal into play, can bring wide players into play.

‘The ball is quite safe when it goes into him and he’s agile – at one point he produced a really good scissor-kick.

‘In the same match, Jamal played the 10 role, just off Nicke, and had real flexibility in his role.

‘Jamal can play off the striker, play off the wide position, he can also play off the nine role, so it’s great to have that all wrapped up in one player.

‘His performance and finishes were very, very good, and I thought Jez Bedford on the right was outstanding and a constant threat, hitting the post.

‘The pair of them can play in that structure and, without going overboard, it was a nice performance from both.’

Meanwhile, reserve regular Adam Buxton was a noticeable absence from Pompey’s squad against the Canaries.

Instead, Amine Linganzi, Tom Davies and Drew Talbot represented the permitted three players aged more than 23.

Foster added: ‘Adam is an overage player so we went with those three.

‘Simply, you have got to pick three overage players.’