What Pompey legend Guy Whittingham had to say about John Marquis' Charlton performance and why there's signs of encouragement

Pompey legend Guy Whittingham has come to the defence of misfiring Blues striker John Marquis.

Sunday, 26th September 2021, 4:55 am
Pompey striker John Marquis in the tunnel at The Valley. Picture: Jason Brown

That’s after the front man’s profligacy in front of goal at Charlton yesterday cost Danny Cowley’s side a much-needed win at The Valley.

Marquis was found guilty of missing key chances either side of the break in south London – with one coming immediately after Ronan Curtis had handed the visitors a sixth-minute lead drawing most criticism.

It led to the former Doncaster Rovers staying on just one goal from his 10 appearances to date this season and the Blues remaining in mid-table with no league wins since a 1-0 victory over Shrewsbury on August 17.

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But according to Whittingham – who knows a thing or two about scoring goals after bagging 115 of them in 226 Blues appearances – there’s signs of encouragement about the striker’s play.

He said it was obvious that the front man was struggling at this moment in time – and that Marquis’ miss from five yards out in the first half will play on his mind.

Yet he’s encouraged that the former Doncaster Rovers ace is still finding himself in places where he can make an impact.

And with a bit of luck and more time spent on the training pitch to build up his confidence, Whittingham believes Marquis should turn the corner.

Speaking on BBC Solent after yesterday’s stalemate, the former Blues striker said: ‘I think he (Marquis) played a good part in the performance (against Charlton).

‘It was an encouraging (team) performance, certainly going forward.

‘And he obviously linked up for the (Marcus) Harness goal, which we thought was going to be the winner, and he’s getting chances – and that’s the thing.

‘We’ve seen games recently, before last week, where he didn’t even have a sniff on goal.

‘He’s had a couple of very good chances today (Saturday) and for strikers you always want to keep getting in those areas and sometimes quite often what you need is something that just goes in off your backside because confidence plays a big part.

‘The chances he missed – the first one – is the one that I think he’ll be thinking about more.

‘The first touch allowed the goalkeeper just to alter his thinking and then he miskicked it with his left foot and it went wide.

‘The other chance he had at the other end in the second half, which was a good one – the ball came in from Romeo and it wasn’t at the pace you’d want it as a striker.

‘He had to put pace on it and it came at an angle that was just behind him. So that was a harder one.

‘Look, he probably scores in training a lot.

‘And that’s the thing, in training they’ve got to keep giving him opportunities to score and he’s got keep finding opportunities to score and he’ll find out that it will come back in the games and hopefully his confidence will go on from there.

‘But he is struggling at the moment unfortunately’

Whittingham added he also saw improvements in Marquis’ overall play under Cowley.

His work-rate has never been questioned, yet some of his movement away from a central striker position under previous boss Kenny Jackett raised eyebrows.

And Whittingham believes Cowley has made an impact in that respect.

He continued: ‘Marquis is not a young kid, is he?

‘He’s set in his ways and certainly you’re not going to change that point of view.

‘I am seeing less running from him in wide areas which is what he used to do under Kenny Jackett.

‘I know what Danny Cowley said about his work-rate for the team and he does work hard, he always works hard and he puts in a shift in, which he should do as a professional footballer playing for this football club.

‘But he’s doing it in a better way.

‘In his runs forward now, they’re more into dangerous areas rather than coming out to wider areas.

‘He did one Saturday, running into wider area which is where Curtis was going, but on the whole he’s sticking in between that 18-yard box, which is what he should do.’