‘Not had desired impact’: Why marquee signings were left on bench as Portsmouth boss lays it on line for attacking pair

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The Cardiff City and Wigan Athletic signings have not made mark yet for his side, but John Mousinho retains faith in their ability to influence Championship chase.

The onus is now on Pompey’s marquee signings to step up and get Pompey’s promotion charge firing.

That is the clear message from Blues boss John Mousinho, who has underlined he retains faith in Gavin Whyte and Anthony Scully to provide the goals and assists they were recruited for last summer.

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The head coach acknowledged the pair have yet to live up to expectations, but indicated he would’ve tried to offload them this month if he didn’t think they could make their marks.

Scully’s progress at Fratton Park was halted by knee surgery for a meniscus issue, keeping him out for four months after joining from Wigan in June.

Whyte’s shown flashes of quality, but not reached the level of performance either he or Pompey expected when arriving from Cardiff in July.

Now eyes are on the duo to step up and fulfil their Fratton billing.

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Mousinho said: ‘That (being billed as marquee signings) is a tag we wouldn’t have said anything about internally, that’s something externally fans and the media talk about. For us, all 14 signings were important and coming in to impact the first team.

‘If you take any of the players in isolation and ask if they’ve had the desired impact - at the moment Anthony and Gavin haven’t.  We think they can have that impact, otherwise it would’ve been a conversation to have in this transfer window - but that’s as far from our thoughts as possible.

‘We want them to have a successful career at Portsmouth - and that continues from when they step on a football pitch next.

‘In Gav’s case, he’s started quite a few games in the past few weeks. Anthony’s in a different position in terms of coming back from a long injury lay-off, so we need to get it right for him and bring him into situations where we can affect games.

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‘The reason we signed both of them is because I’ve got ultimate faith in them to produce, be a big part of the team this season and big part of the football club in future.

‘Ultimately it’s down to them now to show it and show they have the capability to do it. When they do get the chance - take it. That’s what I’d tell any player. Football is a really harsh industry and chances can be few and far between. So you have to come in and be right at it - particularly when you’re competing for points every week.’

Both Whyte and Scully were left on the bench in last weekend’s dismal 3-0 defeat to Leyton Orient, despite Pompey needing to turn around a three-goal deficit at the break. It was a similar story in the home meeting with Stevenage on New Year’s Day, though Whyte has started the past three games on the road.

Scully has made three substitute appearances since his injury return, with Mousinho the reasoning behind last Saturday’s decision over changes.

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He added: ‘Part of that was the shape. I think Anthony and Gav would have suited coming into one of those positions Terry (Devlin) and Tom (Lowery) were occupying.

‘But, to be fair Terry and Tom were our brightest sparks in the second half, particularly Tom.

‘So part of it was shape and part of it was keeping players who we know have goals in them on the pitch. I think behind Colby two of the most attacking threats we have on the pitch are Paddy (Lane) and Abu (Kamara).

‘So there were a few thoughts behind that. We want to pick sides and make subs we thing are best for games. That’s the thought process.’

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