Kenny Jackett defends Ellis Harrison's Portsmouth form after breaking lengthy League One goal drought

Kenny Jackett has defended Ellis Harrison’s disappointing goal return.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 12:30 pm
Ellis Harrison took responsibility for spot-kick duties against Swindon and Tuesday night - and netted his first league goal for four months. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

The striker netted a penalty five minutes following his introduction as a substitute in Tuesday night’s 2-0 success over Swindon.

It represented his first League One goal in fourth months – and that previous occasion also arrived from the spot.

Overall, Harrison has scored five times in 24 appearances this season for the league’s top scorers.

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Yet Jackett has sympathy for a player who has largely been restricted to substitute outings.

And he has given his backing to the 27-year-old ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crewe.

He said: ‘Ellis hasn’t had that much game time, it has been John (Marquis) all the way through.

‘In recent games, though, such as Charlton and Plymouth, I have played both of them.

‘Both are needed together at times, they’re team players, and it’s good to see work in a partnership.

‘Ellis hasn’t had much game time because John has done very well.

‘Obviously he wants goals, but sometimes when we decide on an extra passer in midfield, it can leave you as a lone striker.

‘Ellis can play that role very, very well because he can hold the ball up.

‘He wants to play regularly, he wants to play more – and I do understand that.

‘Like every player, he wants game time, but, similarly, he’s a committed team player and there when he’s ready.’

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Of Harrison’s 24 outings this term, 15 have arrived from the bench, highlighting his regular role as a substitute.

Indeed, he was outstanding in October’s 4-2 success at Burton, only for that encouraging spell in the side to end through hamstring injury two games later.

Ever since Marquis has been installed as the Blues’ first-choice striker, totalling 13 goals so far.

Jackett added: ‘Ellis has had a little burst in the team now, which has helped us and helped him.

‘The penalty was a crucial one against Swindon, we needed that at that particular stage of the game.

‘For him, there was that match, along with a big performance against Charlton, and he was also involved in us getting a point against Plymouth last weekend.’

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