Wanted: A first goal from a Portsmouth centre-half since April

Kenny Jackett has challenged his central defenders to contribute more in the opposition penalty area.

Wednesday, 13th November 2019, 3:49 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 8:00 am
The last time a Pompey central defender scored was April 2019 - when Christian Burgess netted against Peterborough. Picture: Robin Jones

And with it now being 25 matches since a Pompey centre-half last netted, it’s a barren spell which has become increasingly frustrating.

Not since Christian Burgess’s left-footed finish against Peterborough in April has a goal arrived from the position.

This term, the long-serving defender hit the bar against AFC Wimbledon in October, while Sean Raggett has struck a post and won a penalty during his short time on the south coast.

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However, Jackett is still awaiting a goal-scoring input from any of the six different centre-halves employed this term.

In contrast, Matt Clarke (four) and Burgess (two) netted six times between them during a 2018-19 season consisting of 62 fixtures.

Although Jack Whatmough failed to register in 30 appearances before tearing a knee cartilage in February, ruling him out for around a year.

Yet while central defenders occupy Jackett’s focus, his entire back four have struggled to appear on the scoresheet this season.

Brandon Haunstrup, while operating at right-back, recorded his maiden Blues goal on the occasion of his 50th appearance.

It also represented just the second goal scored by a Pompey defender during this season’s 22 matches.

The other was Anton Walkes, with a finish from right-back in last month’s Leasing.com Trophy trip to Oxford United, which ended 2-2.

Incidentally, the last time a Blues player at left-back netted was Boxing Day, December 2016 – Enda Stevens.

That contribution in a 3-2 win at Newport County was the Republic of Ireland international’s sole goal in 99 appearances for the club.

Since then Dion Donohue, Lee Brown, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Clarke, Damien McCrory, Haunstrup and Walkes have failed to score while serving in the position.

Since Jackett's June 2017 appointment, there have been six goals from right-back, with three provided by Walkes.

The former Spurs man netted on his Pompey debut in February 2018 against Doncaster, having initially arrived on a six-month loan.

The other right-backs to net are Nathan Thompson in the Checkatrade Trophy final, Jamal Lowe against Scunthorpe while a wing-back and, of course, Haunstrup.