Portsmouth boss rues lack of goal-scoring chances – and striker options

Kenny Jackett has conceded Pompey are short of striking options.

Saturday, 19th January 2019, 9:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 6:00 pm
Kenny Jackett's Pompey side suffered defeat at Oxford - a second-successive loss. Picture: Joe Pepler

And the importance of the recruitment hunt is clear following the crucial lack of attacking spark during successive defeats.

Problems in their offensive game were once more obvious on Saturday as the Blues slumped to a second-straight League One loss.

Jackett’s men had been toothless against Blackpool the previous weekend – and the issue was again apparent in a 2-1 defeat at Oxford United.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The visitors were 2-0 down at the interval, with substitute Brett Pitman netting what proved to be a consolation during the second half.

Despite pushing Jamal Lowe into a striking role and handing David Wheeler a start, the Blues were desperately poor as an attacking unit.

And Jackett acknowledged the ongoing problem.

He said: ‘Perhaps we are short of striker options, but Brett getting the goal will help him and lift him, I'm sure.

‘What we have done so far this season is have a good defensive record, we’ve kept clean sheets, but then have been pretty free in terms of creating chances, getting shots in, getting away from people.

‘Certainly in the last two games there have been a minimal amount of chances and clear-cut chances, those two things are a feature because if you are not doing it necessarily at one end then you need to do it at the other.

‘In terms of my front three, I did think I needed to change things and give Wheeler a run.

‘With Jamal I thought he could bring pace, some pace down the sides to be able to slide him through and give a little bit of a release ball when it’s right.

‘From our point of view, do we want to be going forward and creating chances? Yes we do. Did we create as many chances on Saturday as we normally do or last week against Blackpool? No, in those two games we haven't created that much.

‘But, similarly, we’ve been keeping clean sheets and, in many away games so far this season, when the first half has gone like that it’s been 0-0 and we’re well in the game.’

In the ongoing injury absence of Oli Hawkins, Pompey's attacking players are also struggling to fire.

And Jackett admitted Lowe, Ronan Curtis and Gareth Evans fell flat at the Kassam Stadium.

He added: ‘If you are looking at all our front three, Ronan was probably well marked and didn’t get any strikes in, Jamal all the second half in the wide right area as well, not just in the first half.

‘To be fair to (Josh) Ruffels, it was tough for us to get Jamal into the game. It was tough for him to then get to the byline, beat his man and get the strikes in. The two wingers didn’t necessarily get going.

‘Gareth had a good effort early in the game, which he was unlucky with, but similarly didn’t necessarily get away from people and get the strikes.’