Leicester loanee George Hirst: I can flourish alongside John Marquis as Portsmouth's strikeforce

They have yet to occupy the Pompey pitch together, either in pre-season or competitively.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 4:55 am
George Hirst has featured three times for Pompey since his loan arrival - but never with John Marquis. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

But George Hirst is convinced he can forge a strikeforce to be feared with John Marquis.

The Leicester front man arrived at Fratton Park on the eve of the League One season to bolster Danny Cowley’s attacking choice.

Measuring at 6ft 4in, aged 22 and with England youth pedigree, Hirst represents an intriguing option.

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Still, so far each of his three Pompey outings have come at Marquis’ expense rather than matched up alongside him.

Hirst came off the bench to replace last season’s top scorer against Fleetwood and Crewe, while was introduced at the break in the Carabao Cup fixture at Millwall.

Meanwhile, in his sole pre-season outing against Bournemouth under-21s, Marquis was not involved.

Their paths have yet to cross – but Hirst believes the pair in tandem could prove highly effective.

He told The News: ‘I don’t see any reason why partnering John wouldn’t work at all.

‘I have trained with him in the last couple of weeks and watched him in the games so far, he’s one of those that can do a bit of both. A bit like myself.

‘There’s the hard running in behind and if it needs to go up to your chest and get hold of it, then we can do that as well.

‘On that side of it, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work together.

‘I think a lot of people are misled about me. Being 6ft 4in, people look at me and think “target man”, which is to be expected, but I’d like to think I have a little more about my game.

‘I can do that side of it if needed, I can be the one who flicks it on, but my strengths have always been getting the ball to feet and running at people, running in behind and getting on the end of through balls.

‘Normally I’m working defenders back towards their own goal. If you ask any defender in the world, that’s not something they like doing.’

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Pompey travel to Doncaster on Saturday seeking to end their League One winning streak to four matches.

They will face a Rovers side without a point from their opening three fixtures – and Hirst is itching to get more first-team involvement.

He added: ‘Don’t get me wrong, I have a target man in my game.

‘You have to adapt, it’s not going to be pretty football every week and I’m not going to be able to get on the end of through balls and run at people each game.

‘There are going to be times when you need to fight it out – and I can do that.

‘But if I was to tell you now what my strengths are and what I’d be doing at my best, then it would be running in behind and getting on the end of crosses.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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