Kenny Jackett on what Portsmouth need to do to get ex-Doncaster striker John Marquis firing again
Kenny Jackett stressed Pompey must start providing John Marquis with sufficient service for him to again hit the goal trail.
The big-money summer signing from Doncaster has been a virtual ever-present at Fratton Park, starting nine of his 11 appearances to date.
However, Marquis has scored just two goals and drawn a blank in his past six outings.
That’s despite arriving with a reputation as one of the most prolific strikers in League One – bagging 67 times in the past three seasons at Donny.
But Jackett’s pinpointed why Marquis, who struck the post in Tuesday’ 4-0 loss to Southampton, has yet to fire on all cylinders during Pompey’s stuttering start to the League One campaign.
Having analysed defeats in the south-coast derby and at Wycombe last weekend, the boss believes the Blues haven’t played to Marquis’ strengths.
And Jackett insisted his troops have been working hard to ‘adapt’ tactics around the ex-Millwall man’s attributes.
He said: ‘If I’m looking at Tuesday night, John was unlucky when he hit the post because it was a really good strike.
‘Going back to Wycombe, I watch games again, again and again sometimes and he made some excellent runs.
‘He gets right along the line, his body shape is good in terms of facing the goal without running offside.
‘He’s a type of centre-forward we haven’t had and need to be aware we can play him in down the sides or even straight through on goal at times.
‘That’s his strength, he’s a very good finisher and has made some very good runs off the centre-halves.
‘We just need to find him more and adapt to his game.
‘At Wycombe, his running down the sides was excellent and we couldn’t find him. It’s something we need to adjust and it's something we’ve been working on.
‘We haven’t slotted him through enough. We've looked for a striker who can play off the shoulder, get down the sides and in between defenders.
‘John is capable of that and we need to learn from that and give him the service.
‘He can get going. He works hard and is a goalscorer who wants playing in – he gets frustrated if he doesn't.’
Brett Pitman operated in the hole behind Marquis against Southampton.
It was a partnership Jackett was encouraged by, with both having goalscoring opportunities within the opening 20 minutes.
And with Ellis Harrison returning from suspension to face Bolton today, the Pompey manager is pleased with his striker options.
Jackett added: ‘In terms of how we went on Tuesday night, it was slightly different. Ellis has got to push both John and Brett for those positions.
‘Having said that, I thought those two were pretty good on Tuesday.
‘If we can give them a service, get good set-pieces in and get that partnership going then that can help us.
‘For Ellis, he can supplement those.’