Kenny Jackett: Ellis Harrison will thrive in Portsmouth fresh start after Ipswich disappointment
Kenny Jackett is convinced a Pompey fresh start will enable Ellis Harrison to thrive.
The striker endured a disappointing maiden season with Ipswich, hampered by injury and culminating in the team’s relegation to League One.
Harrison contributed one goal in 17 appearances after the Tractor Boys last summer beat Pompey to his £750,000 signature from Bristol Rovers.
Yet, following an unsuccessful loan attempt in January, Jackett finally secured the 25-year-old’s services at the third attempt.
Harrison netted 14 times for Rovers in 2017-18, his most recent League One campaign.
And Pompey’s boss is convinced a new challenge can benefit a player earmarked for a lone striker role.
Jackett said: ‘What happened at Ipswich last year and Ellis’ part in it is maybe something you need to ask them and him, but I’m pleased to have added him to our squad.
‘We did watch the games he played in last year and there’s not many, I understand that, but before that watched him quite a lot in our league.
‘We have followed him for a little while and I’m pleased to give him the opportunity to try to find a home now and settle down, play regularly and prove to be a successful player for us
‘It’s a big task for him, but at 25 he’s coming into his best years and will thrive at Portsmouth with the size of the crowd and opportunity we have given him.
‘You can look at signings – and what they have done previously – and if you analyse it too much you wouldn’t take anyone.
‘Also the ones that are, let’s say, red hot at the moment do generally cost a lot of money.
‘Scouting is different, you have to find somebody that, for whatever reason, it hasn’t quite worked out for them.
‘Whatever those reasons are, you take the player, give a fresh opportunity, maybe some clear direction and also a new start, which is something players need from time to time.
‘The signings where people are coming into their best years are key signings because there is enough experience there to put it to good use.
‘And, with a fresh start and good backing, I think Ellis can be a success for us.’
Harrison totalled 49 goals in 204 games after emerging through the Bristol Rovers ranks.
During that period, the former Wales under-21 international also won promotion twice.
Jackett added: ‘At different stages we have tried to sign him and enquired about him.
‘Ellis brings pace, mobility and a really good work-rate, which complements what we have up front.
‘At times I’ve felt we don’t quite have enough pace up there. He’s a different type of player and we need a more fluent, pacy, attacking front three.’