The right-wing skirmish between Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness which is inspiring Portsmouth
The right-wing monopoly has been prised away from Jamal Lowe’s grasp.
Now Ryan Williams and Marcus Harness are scrapping to claim the ascendancy – competition Kenny Jackett believes is benefiting Pompey.
Australian international Williams has been chosen ahead of his rival for the last three matches, totalling 21 games and one goal this term.
Yet Harness has offered a greater scoring threat, netting six times in his 28 outings for the Blues.
The pair have started together on just three occasions since their summer arrivals, reflecting Jackett’s preference for straight selection between them.
And while Lowe was unopposed for two seasons, suddenly right-wing competition is rife.
Jackett said: ‘Whichever I choose, I am quite confident, that’s the main thing.
‘People ask whether it gives you a headache. Maybe a headache of sorts, but when you haven’t got one on the right-hand side that’s a headache – and then needing to find one.
‘They are slightly different types of players, but I do think, in terms of the wingers in my 4-3-3 system, Curtis, Williams and Harness have done well.
‘They have the pace I like with wingers and we have cover. Williams has shown a variability to play on the left-hand side, Marcus less so, but I still think he can adapt if he has two or three games.
‘Ryan is maybe a little bit more direct in terms of his running, while Marcus has fantastic ability in terms of close control. He and Andy Cannon have the best close control at the club.
‘I feel comfortable with either player. Marcus hasn’t played the last few games, but I wouldn’t hesitate to put him on or put him into the team.’
Injuries have allowed both to feature in sustained first-team runs this season, in turn each catching the eye at stages.
And Jackett appreciates how changing his right wingers can inject added impetus.
He added: ‘Our attitude and energy has upped and needs to continue to be high.
‘I try to get some consistency into the team, establishing combinations, but there's a time when you need fresh energy – and there’s a balance to those two.’