Frank Lampard as boss, Kenny Jackett's future, Sean O'Driscoll as caretaker, Tornante gambling - Your Portsmouth questions answered

We’ve been asked plenty of questions following the 4-1 defeat at Northampton. Chief sports writer Neil Allen attempts to answer them...

Monday, 8th March 2021, 12:22 pm
Our readers have been posing questions on the future of Kenny Jackett - and Pompey. Picture: Dennis Goodwin/ProSportsImages

1) Pompey need to get rid of Kenny Jackett now if we are to get in the play-offs. Get Eddie Howe in, even if it's just to cover the remainder of the season, or what about Frank Lampard? Surely we'd be better doing that than keeping KJ.

Iain Porter (email)

Please, let’s be realistic. A manager has to want to come to Fratton Park to be appointed, which often does not seem to be considered when talking about candidates.

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Eddie Howe was reportedly earning £3m a year at Bournemouth, seen as a future England boss and has recently been linked with Celtic.

Why would a League One club appeal to him? As for having a supposed affinity because of two appearances in three years at Pompey, it was also the most tortuous spell of his playing career due to injuries.

As for Lampard, Chelsea are reportedly still paying his £75,000 a week wages, despite his dismissal in January, That means he was earning £3.9m a year.

As if Pompey could afford anything near that to lure him to this level. As if he would be looking at League One as his next challenge two months after leaving the Premier League.

2) Can anyone actually spell out what has went wrong at Pompey? We were top of the table at Christmas, now we're struggling to stay in the play-offs. Is is all the manager's fault? Do the player take the blame? Is it the contract situations? Somebody help me understand, please!!!

Ross Simpson (email)

I’ve seen many theories surrounding the contract situation of players. The problem is, many of those contracted beyond the summer have also badly lost form of late.

We also keep being told how wonderful the team spirit and togetherness is. Certainly there is little evidence of that on the pitch at present.

And those players scared to get on the ball and play a forward pass in the first half against Northampton, is that down to the manager?

Incidentally, Pompey had 67 per cent possession while losing 4-0 at half-time. That’s what happens when you pass it sideways or to the defender stood behind.

The players have to take responsibility, the manager has to take responsibility. The owners and board also have to take responsibility for a laissez faire attitude toward on-pitch matters for far too long.

And it’s up to them to sort out this mess.

3) I know there's not many options at the moment, but why does Jackett stick with the likes of Curtis and Harness? Both are well out of form and nowhere near the levels they should be at. Has it got the point that players can be poor on the pitch and still know they'll be playing the next game?

Charlie Langford (email)

Spot on about the form of Curtis and Harness, yet they do possess the talent to play in the Championship.

We can all agree that Curtis has been poor this season, however he has still netted 10 times and is one of the most effective left-sided wingers in this league.

We also know he is capable of going on a scoring run, while has the ability to make things happen through his work-rate and desire. Take last month’s goal against Plymouth as an example.

Harness’ form has dropped off a cliff since earlier in the season, when he bagged that hat-trick at Burton.

Yet he conjured up Sean Raggett’s goal against Gillingham through marvellous work down the right – and that potential still remains.

Besides, there are few options. Michael Jacobs has been troubled by injury, leaving Ryan Williams as the only alternative in a wide role.

4) Does it not make sense to make the managerial change now rather than the end of the season? Fresh approach might provide the spark we desperately need right now.

Simon Ward (email)

Kenny Jackett is seen as a safe pair of hands. The truth is, there is every chance that, if he remains, he takes Pompey into the play-offs.

Forget what actually happens in the play-offs from the semi-finals onwards, no-one can predict that. However, his record overwhelmingly demonstrates he is capable of finishing in League One’s top six.

Now ask are there realistic alternatives out there? Is anyone equipped to step up from the Academy as a stand-in to get Pompey over the line? Is it worth a gamble?

Pompey are presently in the play-offs with 14 matches remaining. It can be argued they remain on course for claiming a spot. After all, they are already sat there.

5) Is there anyone from within the club that can step up as a caretaker boss until the end of the season? I can't think of many.

Peter Jacobs (email)

Assistant manager Joe Gallen would presumably not be considered, while first-team coach Jake Wigley is surely too inexperienced.

The Academy contains Sean O’Driscoll, Liam Daish and Mark Kelly as realistic options.

Certainly O’Driscoll has an excellent managerial background with Bournemouth, Doncaster, Forest and Bristol City.

However, he hasn’t managed a first-team for more than five years and is not the passionate motivator on the sidelines some fans crave.

Daish has plenty of non-league experience in management, his last being Nuneaton Town, where he was dismissed in April 2015 following relegation from the National League.

As for Kelly, he’s worked entirely in Academy football, both with Pompey and Bournemouth.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

On Saturday, March 13 Pompey will finally get their day at Wembley.

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You can choose your perfect Sports subscription here and use the discount code ROADTOWEMBLEY25 to get the latest news from Fratton Park for less. Offer runs until midnight on March 15.