Kenny Jackett is interested to see how Brett Pitman develops in the number-10 role with pace ahead of him.
The Pompey boss reinstalled last season’s 25-goal top scorer into his starting line-up for the 3-2 victory over Walsall on Tuesday.
Making his first start in 10 games, Pitman featured behind striker Omar Bogle at the Bescot Stadium.
And the captain delivered a man-of-the-match performance.
He opened the scoring from the penalty spot and won the ball back in the build-up to Viv Solomon-Otabor’s decisive effort.
Having mainly functioned as a outright marksman during his Fratton Park career to date, Pitman looked comfortable in a deeper role against the Saddlers.
Jackett admits it has not previously worked when the former AFC Bournemouth man has played off Oli Hawkins in the past.
But the speed of January arrivals Bogle and James Vaughan means the Pompey boss can now utilise Pitman in the hole.
‘I’ve played Brett there before with Oli Hawkins in the number-nine role,’ Jackett said.
‘It hasn’t quite worked and looked a bit static for me.
‘Brett hasn’t had the opportunity with a quick number nine because we haven’t really had one before taking Bogle and Vaughan.
‘He came on behind Vaughan at Charlton and did quite well before he had a start behind Bogle.
‘It’ll be interesting how those partnerships develop now and for Brett to maybe play that role deeper than he has at previous clubs.
‘He can maybe get more involved in linking the play with his passing – that was quite a big one for him and did that on Tuesday.
‘At Walsall, Jamal Lowe, Bogle and Otabor had the pace for Brett to be able to play the right ball at the right time.
‘It’s a slightly deeper role than the out-and-out goalscoring role he’s played before.
‘It will be interesting to see how it works out for him now and will be good to see how it develops.’
Pitman has scored eight goals in 31 appearances this season.