Can we expect a new striker this summer? Your Portsmouth questions answered after AFC Wimbledon victory

We’re back answering your questions after Pompey returned to the League One play-off driving seat following a 3-1 win at AFC Wimbledon.

Monday, 3rd May 2021, 1:13 pm
Updated Monday, 3rd May 2021, 1:22 pm

Subjects tackles are the Blues’ potential search for a summer striker, whether Paul Downing’s future plans have now changed and the all-important final game of the season against Accrington on Sunday...

1. John Marquis has scored 18 goals this season but probably could have bagged so many more in the process. Danny Cowley keeps bigging him up but surely a better striker is needed next season no matter what division we are in. Is that something we can expect in the summer?

S. Dale

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John Marquis shoots during Pompey's win at AFC Wimbledon. Picture: Jason Brown

In fairness, every striker across every division could have scored more than their current tally. Strikers miss chances at any level and 18 is a respectable total.

But I take on board what you're saying about John Marquis as he should have had his name on the scoresheet at AFC Wimbledon.

Danny Cowley spoke glowingly about Marquis the first time he addressed the media when announced as boss and has continued to do so since.

Some of that might be because he's the only fit number nine and needs to keep his confidence high but the praise does seem genuine.

However, there are some concerns around Marquis' all-round play and if it can yield a Championship spot. He's been at Pompey two years now and played 96 times, so we’ve had enough time to judge.

Regardless of what happens this term, a new centre-forward is something Cowley will surely be coveting this summer.

If you look at Pompey's past two opponents in Accrington and Wimbledon, they've had more effective front men in Dion Charlies, Colby Bishop and Joe Pigott despite being further down the standings.

I'd expect Jordy Hiwula to depart given his lack of football for the past two seasons – first at Coventry and now Fratton Park.

Ellis Harrison's under contract another year and offers something different but he netted just one league goal from open play before his season was cut short by injury.

Someone who’s a focal point but regularly nets might be the sort of striker Cowley may want.

2 Was totally gobsmacked to see Paul Downing start against Wimbledon on Saturday. He played really well to boot, too. Why were we made to believe he wasn't up to scratch by Jackett? Does he all of a sudden give the Cowleys something to think about in the summer?

Iain Thompson

For someone who hadn't started a league game since September 2019, it was a brilliant performance from Paul Downing. He showed many of the qualities that we expected to see when he was brought to the club, having been a hit at Blackburn and Doncaster.

It was quite clear that Kenny Jackett just didn't fancy Downing after a short while, despite handing him a three-year deal.

Jackett mainly wanted his centre-halves to be robust "head it, kick it" sorts and Danny Cowley seems to think Downing was given instructions that overcomplicated and didn't suit his style.

Let's be frank, Downing highly likely leave this summer before the past two games.

Who could have blamed him, either? He's had two years not playing football and turns 30 in October so will want to be featuring regularly again.

However, the former Walsall man has a year left on his current deal.

With Rasmus Nicolaisen's loan expiring and Jack Whatmough out of contract, only Downing and Raggett are tied down for next term in central defence.

It's something both Downing and the Cowleys now have to ponder.

3. Where did that performance at Wimbledon come from? I thought the season was dead and buried - a bit like Pompey's confidence, fitness and desire to claim that sixth spot.

D Chisholm

It was an excellent display bar the opening 10 minutes when things were a bit haphazard at the back.

So many of the players looked rejuvenated after some recent fatigued performances - particularly Tom Naylor, Ben Close and Marcus Harness. To a man, Pompey were very good.

I don't think it's a coincidence that Lee Brown's return added momentum. He's a leader and criminally underrated when it comes to being a full-back who's always an outlet on the overlap.

After the deflation at the final whistle at Accrington, the Blues are now back in the play-off driving seat. All of a sudden, optimism is in abundance once more.

You'd suspect training this week won't be too intense and bodies will be managed carefully to ensure everyone is in peak shape for Sunday's visit of Stanley.

4. Who would you rather play on the final day of the season? Accrington at home or Burton at home? Can't see Charlton winning their last two games, so it looks like it's between Pompey and Oxford on the final day.

M Lester

Despite neither Accrington nor Burton having anything to play for, the pair aren’t rolling over for anyone.

With Pompey facing both sides recently, we know it wouldn't be an easy game for the Blues or Oxford.

On the bare form, Burton are the tougher opponent having won two, drawn three and lost one of their past six matches.

Stanley, meanwhile have won one, drawn four and lost once but in that time have played Pompey, Charlton, Sunderland and Blackpool.

John Coleman's hellbent on a strong finish and wants to prove that his side should have been in the play-offs this season.

I'm not saying Burton are going to down tools, but their success since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink returned as manager is because they've made themselves hard to beat to avoid relegation.

On the final day, there's a chance he'll tell his troops to just go out and play with freedom, which wouldn't be to Pompey's benefit.

In terms of Charlton, I wouldn't count them out yet.

Lincoln have now secured their play-off spot so could be tempted to give some key players a rest tomorrow night.