The Accrington talisman who could be Portsmouth's summer answer to current problem

It's an area Pompey will surely be keen to bolster this summer.

Tuesday, 27th April 2021, 7:00 am

The striking department has been badly short since Danny Cowley took the Fratton Park driving seat last month – both numerically and in terms of quality.

Certainly, it's somewhat hindered the Blues' League One promotion push, not only just during Cowley’s short reign but also while predecessor Kenny Jackett was in charge.

John Marquis has led the line for the majority of the season and stands as Pompey's top scorer with 16 goals in 46 matches in all competitions.

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However, all-round displays have often fallen short, albeit effort has always been there, and he's notched just five times since the turn of the year.

Ellis Harrison's campaign was curtailed a month ago after he was forced to undergo knee surgery. The ex-Bristol Rovers man finishes with a tally of six goals in 31 games, with only a solitary effort from open play in the league.

Fans clamoured for Jordy Hiwula to get more of a chance as he played a support-act role to Marquis and Harrison for most of the term and looked lively in substitute cameos and cup outings.

Yet in the one league game he did feature from the outset in – along with the Papa John's Trophy final – he couldn't quite grasp his chance.

ACCRINGTON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 02: Dion Charles of Accrington celebrates scoring his 3rd goal during the Sky Bet League One match between Accrington Stanley and Bristol Rovers at The Crown Ground on February 02, 2021 in Accrington, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Having scarcely played for the past two years, Hiwula can hardly be blamed if he walks away from Pompey at the end of his contract and seeks regular minutes elsewhere.

That leaves Marquis and Harrison both tied down for an additional year following their respective arrivals from Doncaster and Ipswich in the summer of 2019.

But whether Pompey are in the Championship or plotting another League One promotion push, Cowley will undoubtedly covet an additional centre-forward option for added competition.

Regular recruitment meetings are taking place, even if the head coach's stay beyond this term has yet to be confirmed, while potential targets will also be getting identified.

If it's a proven marksman that's scored goals in the third tier the Blues desire then they'll get two opportunities in 12 days to survey one up close and personal.

Dion Charles has been the star of Accrington's admirable season punching well above their weight.

Stanley occupied a play-off spot for substantial periods of the campaign and still have an outside chance of finishing in the top six with three games left.

Charles has earned the majority of plaudits for John Coleman's side – and it's easy to fathom why.

Plucked from non-league Southport in August 2019, the striker has bagged 19 league goals in 39 games this term. That puts him joint-third in the division’s scoring charts along with Hull’s Mallik Wilks, and seven efforts ahead of Marquis.

Charles’ red-hot form also earned a breakthrough to the Northern Ireland squad last month and, aged 25, he's still not hit his pinnacle for a striker.

The former Blackpool trainee's out of contract at the end of the season, although Accy have the option of an additional year.

As they did with Callum Johnson 12 months ago before he swapped Stanley for the south coast, they'll activate that clause.

Charles will surely be a man in demand during the summer transfer window, with Hull already linked.

Should he duly impress over 180 minutes against Pompey, he too could be a viable option if for the right price.