How Portsmouth, Leicester City and ex-Rotherham man's become one of League One's hottest strikers ahead of Sheffield Wednesday reunion

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Pompey loanee George Hirst has emerged as one of League One’s most prolific marksmen of 2022.

It’s clear to see why, as the 23-year-old has bagged 11 league goals this calendar year – which is only bettered by two of the division’s finest strikers.

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Wigan’s Will Keane and Cheltenham’s Alfie May are tied on 14, while the ex-Rotherham man has left Barry Bannan, Cole Stockton, and Matty Taylor, who have bagged 10, in his wake.

His tally of 14 in all competitions this term not only makes him the Blues’ highest scorer – but it ties him with his parent club player’s best returns too.

James Maddison has scored the same amount in all competitions, while Jamie Vardy is two away from his total.

However, this may spell bad news for Pompey as vultures may be circling this summer.

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The former Owls forward appears increasingly like to attract interest from the wealthiest League One clubs and ambitious Championship outfits – who Danny Cowley’s side may struggle to compete with.

George Hirst has scored 11 league goals in 2022.   Picture: Jason BrownGeorge Hirst has scored 11 league goals in 2022.   Picture: Jason Brown
George Hirst has scored 11 league goals in 2022. Picture: Jason Brown

And Brendan Rodgers may be happy to sell if someone hits their valuation.

Regardless, Hirst will no doubt be looking forward to rubber-stamping the best year of his career, by notching at a packed-out Hillsborough on Saturday.

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Hirst has completely changed fan opinion and shown why supporters shouldn’t quickly judge players settling into new surroundings.

During the opening months of the season, he was often a figure of ridicule when tasked with replacing John Marquis late in matches.

After failing to score at Rotherham when largely used from the bench last term, Hirst went his first 13 Pompey appearances doing likewise.

Now, he’s the main man at Fratton Park – and viewed as the player fans would love to see return next season.