Can Charlie Daniels come good? Is fatigue a concern? - your Portsmouth questions answered
Readers have been sending their questions in after Pompey’s 2-1 defeat to Burton on Saturday – which ended Danny Cowley’s perfect record since being appointed boss.
Subjects tackled include concerns over fatigue, John Marquis’ under-rated role and if Charlie Daniels can now come good for the Blues ahead of tomorrow's trio to Crewe Alexandra.
Q. Despite the obvious lift the Cowleys have provided I've heard some say Saturday's defeat was coming. The players look tired, while the lack of attacking options is worrying. How big of a concern is this heading into another hectic period of the season?
After just getting over the line against Rochdale and Wigan, it'd be fair to say the Cowleys' perfect record was going to end sooner rather than later.
When we recorded our podcast Pompey Talk last week, fatigue was the biggest concern for all of us on the show.
Tom Naylor has had a long slog of a season playing almost every minute.
He's been the lynchpin this term but with no like-for-like replacement, things seem to be catching up with him.
Then you look at the injury situation.
With John Marquis having injections in training, Pompey look set to have just three senior attacking options in Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and Ryan Williams at Crewe.
We all knew that the Blues had a favourable fixture list at the business end of the campaign.
But even despite playing teams in the bottom half of the table, it's an uphill challenge if you're short of numbers.
Q. Has Ronan Curtis' performances as a striker over the past two games shown that perhaps John Marquis’ forward play is under-rated?
It shows the true value of an out-and-out number nine.
Danny Cowley has talked about how, apart from a goalkeeper, it's the most specialist position on the pitch.
As ever, Ronan Curtis has not lacked endeavour or effort when spearheading the attack.
However, when it comes to playing with his back towards goal and bringing others into play, he's lacked the nous needed from a natural centre-forward -something which Pompey legend Guy Whittiingham picked up on while doing his punditry for BBC Radio Solent on Saturday.
What's more, Curtis will be frustrated that he's had few goalscoring opportunities despite being the furthest man forward in the past two games.
John Marquis is someone who Danny Cowley holds in high regard and is desperate to get back.
That'll also allow Curtis to go back to the left wing which is his best role and where he’s registered almost all of his goals and assists.
Q. Charlie Daniels has been a major disappointment since he's been at Fratton Park. I have to admit, I expected so much more from him.
Now he's set for an extended run in the team because of Lee Brown's injury. Can we expect him to come good on earlier expectations or will he continue to disappoint?
Quite a lot of fans would agree that Charlie Daniels has underwhelmed since arriving in January.
There was hardly a supporter who disapproved when Pompey's interest emerged given it wasn't that long ago he was in the Premier League with Bournemouth.
In fact, he appeared an upgrade on Cam Pring and many felt he'd become first-choice left-back ahead of Lee Brown, having reportedly impressed at Shrewsbury during the first half of the campaign.
However, after the horrific first-half team performance against Salford at Wembley, Daniels has struggled for a look-in since.
Perhaps Kenny Jackett's persistent rotating of his left-backs meant the former Spurs man couldn't build any sort of impetus.
At that time, Brown's form also took a slight dip because he wasn't playing regularly.
With a sustained run of games until his belt, we might finally see the Daniels everyone expected when signing. Let’s give him a chance.
Q. Will the Cowleys be concerned about the defeat or Burton?
After any loss, managers will go through the video footage with a fine-tooth comb.
Things were a bit flat and Pompey struggled to build any momentum going forward until the final 20 minutes.
However, the Blues knew that was coming.
They expected Burton try to slow the game down as much as possible and have mastered the art.
Furthermore, the Brewers are averaging two points per game since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink returned as manager.
That is automatic promotion form so Pompey lost to an in-form opponent.
We all knew the Cowleys weren't going to go unbeaten in 12 games after arriving. What's needed now is a quick response.
Q. Saturday's loss to Burton, plus the Jacobs and Brown injuries, just made Danny Cowley's work so much harder. Should he be making Pompey plans for beyond the summer, as he has been?
It would be naive not to plan ahead for next season to some capacity.
In fairness to the Cowleys, that's what they're doing.
They're treating the job like they're here for the next 10 years and have regularly held meetings with head of recruitment Phil Boardman, as well as the Eisners.
It seems like the brothers already love the club and they've made a highly favourable impression on the hierarchy.
You'd have to expect irons are very much in the fire for next term.