The verdict on Ipswich and West Brom loanees after making Portsmouth debuts against Gillingham

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New-boys Joe Pigott and Josh Griffiths made their maiden Pompey outings in the pre-season friendly win against Gillingham on Saturday.

The Blues’ newest recruits were thrown straight into the action as they were named in the starting XI at Priestfield.

The pair featured for over an hour as Danny Cowley’s side ran out 2-1 victors in Kent.

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Their arrivals have eased the burden on the Pompey boss’ shoulders, who has previously stated that his number one and nine positions are the most vital areas in his team.

As both registered their first appearances with the star and crescent on their chests, here’s how we judged their performances against the Gills.

Joe Pigott

The Ipswich loanee admitted after the game that his first interaction with his new team-mates was on the coach to Gillingham.

Even with the excuse of being thrown into the deep end with no training or prior knowledge his colleagues’ game, Pigott was very impressive alongside Ronan Curtis up front.

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The verdict on Joe Pigott and Josh Griffiths after maiden Pompey outing.The verdict on Joe Pigott and Josh Griffiths after maiden Pompey outing.
The verdict on Joe Pigott and Josh Griffiths after maiden Pompey outing.

The 28-year-old showed his ability to hold the ball up, which brought others into play, as well as coming deeper to collect possession.

In fact, that was one of the stronger areas of his game on show as he constantly held off defenders – along with his aerial prowess – to set up attacks on the break.

While the striker will be looking to improve on his goal tally from last term, when he netted just three goals in all competitions, he showed little evidence of that affecting his game or confidence.

He was getting into the right areas to receive the ball and had a number of shots on goal.

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After an optimistic volley in the first half, Pigott came close to opening his account after combining well with Joe Rafferty, Michael Jacobs and Curtis on the edge of the box, before unleashing a fierce shot at the Gills’ net which keeper Jake Turner saved.

Substituted on 64 minutes, the on-loan Ipswich man’s debut ended with a blank.

He can be pleased with his efforts, though.

And given the fact he was integrated into the squad just hours before kick-off, there was enough encouragement from his display to suggest that Pompey have a No9 capable of firing on the League One stage.

Josh Griffiths

With Danny Cowley identifying Griffiths as someone who can execute his game plan and instigate attack from the Blues’ own penalty area, the keeper’s ability in this area was tested by the hosts.

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From the opening whistle, he was being put under constant pressure by the Gills’ attacking line when he had the ball at his feet.

This led to a few shaky errors in the early stages of the game, with possession at times given away cheaply.

However, the West Brom loanee soon dusted himself down and showed the type of composure levels that made predecessor Gavin Bazunu a firm favourite with both the fans and Cowley.

Griffiths also demonstrated real command of his penalty area by claiming crosses and displaying no fear to come off his line.

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And he showed no shyness in the company of those Blues players in front of him, with the keeper constantly heard shouting instructions to his new team-mates and proving to be a vocal presence in the Pompey back line.

His shot-stopping capabilities were also on display, with a couple of good saves produced in the first half.

The second period proved less busy, before Griffiths was replaced by teenager Toby Steward just after the hour mark.

Yet during his 64 minutes on the pitch, the 20-year-old never looked in danger of conceding and gave hope that the future is bright without Bazunu being the last line of defence.