WILL ROONEY looks back on Pompey’s loss to Luton on Saturday and assesses the main talking points...
SQUARE PEG ROUND HOLE
It was something of a surprise to see Oli Hawkins make the trip to Luton after he picked up an ankle injury in the build-up to Saturday’s game.
The bigger shock, however, was witnessing the former Dagenham & Redbridge front man operate in the No10 role at Kenilworth Road, with Brett Pitman leading the line for the Blues.
Very quickly, it became apparent playing Hawkins in that position was like placing a square peg in a round hole.
For all of the 25-year-old’s attributes, he’s not a playmaker.
Jackett claimed operating Hawkins deeper would help shore up Pompey’s midfield.
But, in truth, the hit man failed to deliver in an attacking sense, while Pitman was left with little to feed off.
Considering the Blues’ captain prefers playing deeper in the No10 role – that’s where the majority of his nine goals this season have came from – and Hawkins is more comfortable leading the line, it would have made much more sense to switch them around.
McGEE KEEPS BLUES IN IT
Luton goalkeeper Marek Stech earned plaudits from every fan who was present at Kenilworth Road at the weekend.
Despite the Blues having a number of opportunities on goal, the Hatters stopper impressed by dealing with everything that came his way.
However, opposite number, Luke McGee, also emerged from the game with his reputation enhanced.
The Pompey keeper did his utmost to ensure the Hatters could not extend their advantage – following James Collins’ first-half opener – and kept his side in the game.
McGee made a fine stop to push Luke Berry’s effort on to the bar on 58 minutes, while he did brilliantly to outfox Olly Lee late on and tip his effort away for a corner.
CHANGE IF GOALSCORING TROUBLES CONTINUE
The two performances in defeats to Luton and Bradford were encouraging from Pompey.
In both games, Kenny Jackett’s side created plenty of chances but could not find the back of the net.
The Blues boss is adamant there are goals in his side.
Nonetheless, if their barren streak in the final third continues for much longer, a change in attacking personnel should be considered.
Kal Naismith has been out of favour this term, likewise Gareth Evans.
Meanwhile, Conor Chaplin offered another burst of energy when he came on as a second-half substitute and will also be confident he can put an end to the dry patch.