Kenny Jackett insists Brett Pitman will remain at number 10 for Portsmouth

Brett Pitman has been earmarked to retain his number 10 role next season.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 6:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 10:03 pm

Kenny Jackett has revealed he wants to freshen up his front line this summer after falling short of promotion.

That consists of strengthening the centre-forward and number 10 positions.

Pitman proved to be a talismanic figure after establishing himself back in Pompey’s side from March, scoring six times.

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Operating in his preferred role behind the striker, he dislodged first-team regular Gareth Evans.

The duo remain under contract for the 2019-20 campaign.

And despite the anticipated arrival of a new challenger, Jackett insists Pitman, in particular, will remain a number 10 option.

Brett Pitman has impressed Kenny Jackett in the number 10 role during the second half of the campaign. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey’s boss said: ‘I want a bit of everything from a number 10 – goals, assists and a good work ethic for the team.

‘I think we need more competition, I wouldn’t say those two guys (Pitman and Evans) need replacing because they are very committed players and good players at League One level.

‘Gareth has a bit more flexibility in terms of positions he can play and we do need more competition in the front line, with freshness.

‘I think Brett is a number 10, though.

‘As we stand at the moment, coming back for the first day of pre-season competing for a place in the 4-2-3-1, which is my preferred formation, Brett Pitman will be challenging in the number 10 spot.

‘That’s where it is, that’s where he wants to play and, in terms of his strengths and weakness, that’s his position.

‘Gareth has played there more this season, though, albeit can also play in a wide area.

‘For a 4-2-3-1 formation, those two guys have been the main ones this year.'

From February, Pitman found himself out of Pompey’s starting XI for nine games.

The former Bournemouth man failed to even make the 18-man squad for five of those fixtures.

But Jackett was impressed with Pitman’s re-emergence – at number 10.

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He added: ‘When he came back into the side we had eight wins in a row, which put us in contention.

‘Shrewsbury away was probably his best game, also Wembley in the Checkatrade Trophy, through that period I thought he was excellent.

‘There have been periods where he has done very well – and, as we all know, it’s his preferred position.

‘For the first half of the season, it was Gareth, and he finished on 13 goals, which is a good return.

‘He’s a good player to fill in a lot of areas but what’s his best position? I do think it’s behind the striker so he can use his energy and come up with a goal.’