Former Portsmouth midfielder believes striker needs to improve goal ratio - but needs help doing it

Alan McLoughlin believes John Marquis could do with improving his goal ratio if Pompey are to win promotion this season.

Sunday, 17th January 2021, 6:00 am

But the former Blues midfielder claims it’s not the striker’s fault that his match-winner against Fleetwood represented his first goal in nine games.

Marquis notched his 12th goal of the campaign and 10th in League One with a 16th-minute header at Highbury Stadium.

He got the better of Fleetwood defender James Hill to connect with Ryan Williams’ inch-perfect cross and give home keeper Joe Hilton no chance in the 1-0 win.

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It places the 28-year-old behind Peterborough’s Johnson Clarke-Harris and Plymouth’s Luke Jephcott (both 13) in the third-tier scoring charts and level with Joe Piggott (Wimbledon) and Charlie Wyke (Sunderland).

Yet before his Highbury heroics his last goal came back on November 21, when he netted in the 4-1 victory against Crewe.

At the time, that effort against the Railwaymen was his ninth in six League One outings – an impressive goal ratio by anyone’s standards.

John Marquis celebrates Pompey's 1-0 win at Fleetwood. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The front man would no doubt love to return to that sort of form in a bid to steer Pompey to the Championship.

However, McLoughlin believes one goal in every three games would be enough for Marquis to achieve his goals.

And the former Republic of Ireland ace claims that can be achieved if the hard-working forward was given some extra support up front.

Speaking on BBC Radio Solent after Saturday’s win, McLoughlin said: ‘One in nine, you don’t want to continue that record between now and the end of the season because you might fall a bit short as a team looking for promotion, if that’s really what you are going for to get in that top two.

‘So you really need John Marquis contributing one in every three games and I think that will work better if he had an extra partner with him.

‘He has (been going through a bit of a lean spell), but he’s stuck at it, he works tremendously hard for the team and I do feel sorry for him at times because I can actually feel his pain as a lone striker in terms of not too much support.

‘Ryan Williams tried to support him (at Fleetwood) as best he could a couple of times and one time he did it actually led to his goal – and that was key.

‘But I still think for John, his goal ratio would go up if he had a partner – but that doesn’t always suit the way Kenny (Jackett) wants to look at his team.

‘Although he’s mentioned they do play 4-4-2, Ryan Williams drops in very early to make that extra person in midfield to defend and that’s the key at the moment for them to be as solid as they can be.’

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