Gaffer: I would return our loanees to Arsenal and Norwich, Portsmouth have to get people who make us better

Gaffer For A Day, Mark Harvey, aged 60 from Gosport, analyses Pompey’s 2-1 FA Cup defeat to Harrogate Town...

Sunday, 5th December 2021, 5:30 pm
Updated Monday, 6th December 2021, 8:50 am
Sean Raggett was the choice of Gaffer For A Day Mark Harvey as Pompey's man of the match against Harrogate Town. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

What did you make of that?

It was poor, it was lacklustre, and the players approached it like the FA Cup was just another game and weren’t too bothered.

Danny Cowley afterwards explained some sort of sickness bug had gone through the camp. Well, let’s hope Shaun Williams had it to justify his performance.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

What was most disappointing is that, for all Cowley’s talk that he hasn’t got a budget, imagine how much money we could have received for reaching the third round and drawing Liverpool in a televised game.

Harrogate wanted the game more than us, their best player was Jack Diamond on the wing. Kieron Freeman and Mahlon Romeo wouldn’t have slept on Saturday night.

What’s your assessment of Miguel Azeez’s performance?

He wasn’t in the game. This was a supposed Premier League player with a massive future and he couldn’t do it against a League Two side.

I don’t like knocking Pompey players, but if they go out and put a shift in then I’m happy. We’re going to lose some time.

Personally I think Azeez is overrated. He comes across a bit too arrogant on the pitch and I just don’t see that killer pass from him. I struggle to see why he’s the player they say he is.

I’m just a football supporter at the end of the day, Arsenal see something in him, England see something in him.

I think he’ll go back in January.

Who was your man of the match?

You would never have known Sean Raggett missed the last game through suspension, he slipped right back in and won everything in the air.

There was one mistake when he gave the ball away on the ground, otherwise he was outstanding and makes Connor Ogilvie a better player alongside him.

They are nice and solid and, in a back three, Kieron Freeman is a good option, but we need another centre-half.

For me, Raggett is head and shoulders above everyone else so far for player of the year. The only one close – but nowhere near him – is Gavin Bazunu.

What are your expectations from the January transfer window?

We have a good first XI when everyone is available and a good back-up keeper - but the squad needs strengthening.

We’re playing our left-back at centre-half, even though he is doing a fantastic job, and all of our midfield players seemed to be defensive.

Azeez can go back, while I would keep George Hirst longer, he’s got better and better.

As for Gassan Ahadme, he’s a bit of an enigma and if we can get somebody who makes us better he should also go back.

Football is not a loyalty business, players come and go, we have tried to give Gassan a bit of a stage, but I would send him back to Norwich.

Gavin Bazunu – 7

Kieron Freeman – 7

Sean Raggett – 8

Connor Ogilvie – 8

Mahlon Romeo – 6

Reeco Hackett – 6

Shaun Williams – 4

Miguel Azeez – 4

Michael Jacobs – 5

Marcus Harness – 7

Ellis Harrison – 6

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

You can support our local team of expert Pompey writers by subscribing here for all the latest news from Fratton Park for 14p a day.