Verdict: It’s a long way back for Brett Pitman to play major role at Portsmouth ever again

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Brett Pitman faces an uphill battle to play a significant role for Pompey ever again.

And Kenny Jackett faces a tough challenge to manage a problematic scenario without it becoming poisonous.

That's the verdict of Blues writer, Jordan Cross, in the latest edition of Pompey Talk.

Cross was speaking after Jackett today publicly spoke of his disappointment in his skipper's form this season.

Jackett stated that was the key reason for leaving Pitman out of his squad for the past four league games.

Cross feels it's a 'long way back' for last season's top scorer after he was criticised publicly by his manager.

Pompey's Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey's Brett Pitman. Picture: Joe Pepler

He said: 'The manager was asked about the situation with Brett Pitman - and dealt with it head on.

'He said he'd been disappointed with his form this season, and you don't often see managers do that.

'There's been criticism from high-profile characters like Darren Anderton and Ray Crawford and I don't know if he's been stung by that.

'Maybe he's felt the need to counteract that, or maybe he's just being honest.

'The fact of the matter is that, this season and not last, he feels he hasn't got enough out of him.

'He didn't quite go all of the way (in what he said), but what he was intimating was work-rate.

'In the preferred 4-2-3-1 system Jackett prefers, Pitman hasn't got the ideal attributes and that's why he's gone with Oli Hawkins and why it was fundamental they got another player for that role in January - Omar Bogle.

'Kenny's mind seems pretty clear.

'Despite the fact he's saying he's still in his thoughts, I think it's a long way back now for Brett to be involved to any significant level this season.

'If that wasn't the case, why would you bring in James Vaughan? He's in front of Brett.

'Maybe Kenny's mind is made up. He's not a man to shirk decisions and he can be ruthless.

'He's not happy with what he's getting out of his player and he's gone on the record to say it - and it's a pretty strong sentiment.

'There are injuries and all kinds of circumstances where he could come back in. I just think, as it stands, it's a long way back.

'He could go and be involved at Bury next week. I just feel it's a long way back once you go public with a story like this one.'

Cross explained Jackett emphatically denied talk of a bust-up with Pitman when asked, but he feels he now has a challenge of his management skills to handle the situation without it causing disruption.

He added: 'I explicitly asked if there had been a bust-up and he denied that.

'The relationship may be frosty but I don't feel there was a specific incident.

'My understanding is before the Doncaster game, when Brett was told he was not in the squad, he left (the training ground) on unhappy terms and wasn't keen to train on his own on the Saturday.

'Brett's a strong-willed character and has great experience in the game.

'He can be a bit spiky but that's part of the fabric of what he is - and Kenny knew that when he was signing him.

'Now it's led to this situation, and it's a problem.

'He now has a disaffected player who's his skipper in the ranks.

'In similar situations in the past that has led to a poisonous, negative outcome when these scenarios arise at clubs.

'They could have tried to get rid of him in January.

'But then, say he went to Oxford and was scoring goals there, people would be pointing to that.

'So a tough issue is now how Kenny manages the situation without it becoming poisonous.'