Very different strikers: Marcus Harness assesses contrasting Portsmouth styles of John Marquis and Leicester loanee George Hirst
Contrasting strikers with alternative skill sets – and Marcus Harness has hailed the impact of John Marquis’ ‘very different’ replacement.
George Hirst is proving to be something of a revelation after finally entrusted with a regular starting spot.
With John Marquis sidelined by injury, the Leicester City loanee has been included in Danny Cowley’s last two line-ups.
The 22-year-old has responded with a goal against Crystal Palace under-21s and by providing the assist for Harness’ Wycombe winner.
The Blues’ seven-goal leading scorer sees little similarity between the strikers – but that’s no criticism.
Harness told The News: ‘George was involved in a lot of the chances created on Saturday, it was a really good performance from him, he’s definitely a valued part of the group.
‘He is a very different striker compared to John.
‘George is probably more aerial than John, he will pick the ball and drive with it more than John, whereas John comes alive into the box a lot more.
‘Looking at George, he’s athletic, can run in behind, can win flick-ons for us, as he showed against some big boys playing at the back for Wycombe.
‘He drives into the box, getting shots off and he can pick a pass, like he showed for my goal on Saturday.
‘George took his chance and I’m sure he’s put some thoughts into the manager's head for the future.
‘John is a really important player for us as well, with his energy and his finishing. We have actually struggled to find him, so I’ve felt a bit bad at times.
‘His intensity and pressing is massive for us as a team, it gets us started, it gets us going, it’s obviously a big miss for us not being here.
‘But we’ve got good players to come in, such as George.’
Wycombe represented Hirst’s full debut in League One for Pompey.
Previously, his 14 outings consisted of 11 appearances from the bench, with all three starts in the Papa John’s Trophy.
And Harness has praised the attitude of those in Pompey’s squad like Hirst, who have stepped up into the first-team to perform when called upon.
He added: ‘We’ve got a great group with really good quality in the squad, so we’re never too worried when we have to make changes.
‘Obviously we did have a lot of changes on Saturday so were wary about that, but I think we handled it well.
‘All of the lads that aren’t playing are very professional, work every day and give us competition, always pushing us on.’
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