Thank you Birmingham - the stop-gap signing who's propelling Portsmouth into the automatic promotion race

When the transfer window opened, there was wholesale agreement among the Fratton faithful – Pompey needed players who’d make an instant impact.

Monday, 20th January 2020, 11:16 am
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 12:51 pm

The Blues had spluttered along during the first half of the campaign, unable to create any serious momentum.

There was enough evidence to suggest the quality was there.

Meanwhile, Kenny Jackett’s side showed signs of being able to put a run of results together.

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However, inconsistency was their Achilles heel – especially on the road.

As January got under way, supporters wanted to see Pompey directly address that problem.

They longed for a new arrival who'd immediately hit the ground running and transform the Blues from play-off pretenders to automatic promotion contenders.

Many believed it was a central-midfielder who would provide that influence.

Steve Seddon. Picture: Joe Pepler

After all, it was the loss of Ben Thompson’s verve and gusto when he was recalled to Millwall which saw Pompey’s Championship aspirations dashed last season.

Jackett has indeed swooped for an engine-room operator who’s of similar ilk to Thompson – namely, Cameron McGeehan

But so far, it’s a player who appeared to be nothing more than a stop-gap signing who is dragging Pompey towards a top-six spot.

At the start of the new year, a left-back alternative took priority due to injuries biting deep in that area.

Both Lee Brown (Achilles) and Brandon Haunstrup (knee) broke down within a seven-day period, leaving the Blues with no recognised replacement.

It forced Jackett to re-evaluated his recruitment plans, and quickly.

Given both were initially pencilled in to return to fitness in late January, someone to fill the void in a short-term capacity seemed the best option.

So up stepped Steve Seddon, who joined on loan from Birmingham for the remainder of the season just a day after the window opened.

It was a week later when big-hitting midfielder McGeehan arrived – a piece of business that whet the appetite after the Northern Ireland under-21 international enjoyed promotion with Barnsley last season and was subsequently named in the League One Team of the Year.

But while both he and Seddon enjoy the formative stages of their PO4 careers, it’s been the temporary solution provided by the Birmingham loanee that’s made the barnstorming immediate impression previously wished for.

In his two outings, McGeehan has showed glimpses of his prowess – but is yet to display it for 90 minutes.

That’s understandable and there’s significantly more to come.

After all, it took Thompson a few games to hit his stride.

Seddon, however, has rapidly demonstrated his class.

In particular, his delivery from crosses has fundamentally caught the eye and significantly increased Pompey’s set-piece threat.

The ex-AFC Wimbledon man’s corner-kick at Fleetwood eventually led to John Marquis' decisive goal, while his free-kick at Bolton on Saturday presented the opportunity for Christian Burgess to fire home his 42nd-minute match-winner.

There's then that inviting cross which allowed Ellis Harrison to move the Blues into the EFL Trophy quarter-finals thanks to a 2-1 win at Walsall.

The 22-year-old has also already built a good understanding with Ronan Curtis down the left, too, with their raids down the flank proving a potent threat.

With the previously injured Haunstrup named on the bench for the past two games, it certainly appears Seddon’s ahead in the pecking order.

And when Brown is also back to full fitness, the vice captain will also be quickly made aware of the competition for a place that lies ahead – if he doesn’t already know!

The one thing we’ve yet to see of Seddon since his arrival, though, is his defensive capabilities.

He’s yet to face a winger with the ability to rein in his attacking instincts and keep him busy with the nuts and bolts of playing at left-back.

That’s an area which has seen Brown earn the trust of Jackett.

Nevertheless, what Seddon has done to date is be the fresh face who’s given Pompey's promotion aspirations the fillip it needed.

And for that, the Fratton faithful will be most grateful.