Portsmouth assistant Joe Gallen reveals reasons behind Brett Pitman's starting omission

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Pompey’s wealth of attacking options have inflicted Brett Pitman’s continued starting XI absence.

That’s the opinion of Joe Gallen, who remains unable to pinpoint a definitive return for the ever-reliable goal scorer.

Pitman netted the 39th goal of his Blues career in last week’s Leasing.com Trophy victory over Crawley.

Yet he has failed to start any of Pompey’s eight matches during the campaign so far, occupying the bench.

Summer arrivals John Marquis and Ellis Harrison have dominated Kenny Jackett’s central striking position.

Meanwhile, Gareth Evans and Andy Cannon have featured in the number 10 role preferred by Pitman.

Pitman scored his 39th Pompey goal in last week's Leason.com Trophy victory over Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

Pitman scored his 39th Pompey goal in last week's Leason.com Trophy victory over Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler/Digital South

And with Oli Hawkins and Ryan Williams on their way back from injury, the scrap for first-team places is impacting upon the 31-year-old's game time.

Pompey assistant boss Gallen said: ‘Let’s be honest, as soon as Brett gets onto the pitch he manages to score goals.

‘In terms of him wanting to play more league games, that Crawley goal will not his chances any harm.

‘We all know his goal scoring here is very good – and we have a lot of options.

‘John Marquis has scored a couple so far, we have Ellis Harrison, while Ryan Williams on his way back hopefully around the Burton game.

‘Gareth Evans has played number 10, Andy Cannon’s played a bit there, Oli Hawkins, who no-one ever wants to mention at this club, is coming back and I am very pleased that he is.

‘There are a lot of options and, in the pecking order at the moment, John has the shirt. I’m sure Brett is only not putting John under pressure, but the number 10 and other good players.

‘The main position he’s looking to get is the number 10 , although he did play number nine for the majority of our first season.’

Pompey host Norwich under-21s in the Leasing.com trophy on Saturday.

Although the previous win over Crawley saw a 4-4-2 operate before Pitman's half-time entrance.

He added: ‘With the competition the way it is, it was a chance to look at John and Ellis as a pair and a midfield four behind that.

‘Then the manager changed his mind at half-time – and opened it up for Brett.’