Brett Pitman dropped from Portsmouth squad for Trophy trip to Walsall

Brett Pitman has been omitted from Pompey’s plans against Walsall.

Monday, 6th January 2020, 6:00 pm
Updated Monday, 6th January 2020, 7:59 pm

The striker has not been included in Kenny Jackett’s 19-man squad for tomorrow night’s Trophy encounter.

It’s an intriguing development in the Fratton future of the man who was skipper when the Blues triumphed in the competition against Sunderland at Wembley in March.

Joe Gallen insists the arrival of Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, plus Oli Hawkins’ re-emergence as a striker, has ramped up attacking options.

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Brett Pitman, who has been a regular on Pompey's bench this season, is not in the squad for Walsall. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

As a consequence, Pitman will not travel to the Bescot Stadium for their ongoing EFL Trophy defence.

But Pompey’s assistant boss is adamant it is not the end for a player this month linked with Plymouth and Swindon.

Gallen said: ‘With Reeco coming in and Oli Hawkins, who we put on at Gillingham, there is a high competition for our forward players.

‘Oli is going back to number nine a bit more and we have John (Marquis), Ellis (Harrison) and Marcus (Harness), while Ryan Williams is on the way back. It is just the pecking order.

‘Everybody has to fight for their places – and Saturday might be different.

‘We are taking Walsall very seriously, we are going to put out a strong team and I think people will be surprised. Come Saturday against Wimbledon, things could change.

‘I haven't actually spoken to Brett because I took the lads which featured against Fleetwood, but he trained today.

‘With any player, it is what you are going to do next and what is going to happen in the future. The next game big game for Pompey is tomorrow – and we are looking at that.’

Pitman has scored 42 goals in 99 appearances since arriving at Fratton Park in July 2017 from Ipswich.

However, appearances have been increasingly harder to come by this term, with his last league start arriving in October.

He turns 32 this month and is out of contract in the summer, but Gallen believes the first-team door remains open.

He added: ‘The moment you write Brett off is the moment he comes onto the pitch and scores the winning goal.

‘And I fully expect him to do that when asked.’