Portsmouth legend's advice to John Marquis as he struggles for goals
John Marquis needs to stop going ‘hunting’ for the ball and ‘stay within the width of the box’ as he bids to recapture his pre-Christmas sparkle.
That was the verdict of legend Guy Whittingham when analysing Pompey’s 2-0 victory over Swindon on BBC Radio Solent.
Marquis has netted 13 times in 33 appearances this season and is the Blues’ top scorer.
After a burst of 10 goals in 11 games in October and November, however, the striker has been short of firepower.
He was replaced by Ellis Harrison, whose goal from the penalty spot to double Pompey's advantage was just his fifth of the campaign.
Whittingham, who plundered 115 goals in 226 appearances during his Fratton Park career, reckons Marquis needs to concentrate more on getting into areas where he can find the back of the net.
He said: ‘A bit of a worry for me is the lack of chances the strikers are getting at the moment.
‘That comes down to the decision-making of the players that could be creating the chances for the strikers when they get to the final third.
‘I'd like to see Marquis stay within the width of the box and when the ball is in the final third, don't both getting interested in any build-up play.
‘Just wait for that ball to get into the right area and make sure you're there. I'd like to see him do that more – especially when you're struggling for chances.
‘Don't go hunting for them, don't feel you have to be involved in the game more, wait in that area. If he gets the chances, he will score.
‘He went on a run before Christmas where he scored lots of goals. There were a couple that were Whittingham-esque about two yards out! That's where you need to be.
‘There are going to be times when you do need to make a run for someone else to get in.
‘But, certainly, when it's in the crossing area, don't get involved in the build-up play, just wait in the box and time your run.'
In total, Marquis has scored 27 goals in 71 outings since joining Pompey from Doncaster for a fee in the region of £1m in July 2019.