Doncaster Rovers launched John Marquis - how his Portsmouth career and their promotion hopes need a happy homecoming
John Marquis is heading back to the club which defined his outstanding goalscoring reputation and bidding to reinvigorate a flagging Pompey career.
A decent Blues return of 28 goals in 85 appearances doesn’t quite reflect how the 28-year-old has fared since arriving on the south coast in August 2019.
Strip away the goals and his performances have been deeply unimpressive and largely ineffective, albeit not through any lack of effort.
He was recruited by Kenny Jackett, the manager who had handed him his Football League debut as a 17-year-old at Millwall.
Indeed, Marquis featured 51 times for the Lions during Jackett’s reign, scoring on six occasions and primarily featuring in the Championship.
However, the same manager has struggled to get the best out of him at Fratton Park – similarly, the striker has significantly failed to demonstrate his Doncaster form.
During his time at Millwall, Marquis was loaned to Torquay, Northampton (twice), Cheltenham, Gillingham and Leyton Orient.
There was also a loan spell at Fratton Park, consisting of two goals in six matches at the start of the 2013-14 campaign.
However, it was at Doncaster where he established himself as a prolific finisher in League One and League Two, following a free transfer arrival in June 2016.
It was also a three-season spell when he became the scourge of Pompey, netting four times in six appearances against the Blues.
Marquis’ remarkable return of 67 goals in 153 matches consisted of reaching 26 goals in a campaign twice.
Sandwiched in between that magnificent record was another 15 registered in 2017-18.
Incidentally, during Paul Cook’s League Two title triumph, Doncaster completed the double over Pompey – with Marquis netting in both games.
However, his scoring record since arriving at Fratton Park has been patchy, largely fits and starts, and presently has three in his last 19 outings.
Rightly, the manager faces strong questioning about how he has effectively utilised a scoring talent purchased for around £1m and catapulted among the Blues’ top earners.
Yet Marquis himself should not escape criticism. Such has been the immensely-disappointing quality of his all-round game, his value has plummeted – as has his regard among the Fratton faithful.
His first return to the Keepmoat Stadium was in October 2019, when Pompey staged a smash and grab to flee with a 2-1 success.
Ellis Harrison was the stoppage-time scorer – having replaced Marquis at half-time.
Marquis could well return to Jackett’s starting XI by default at Doncaster on Tuesday night, with Harrison having collected a dead leg on Saturday.
How Pompey – and the player himself – require inspiration upon his reunion at the club where he has comfortably enjoyed his best days in football. So far.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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