'Why did he sign him?... easy job being a manager...horrific decision-making' - Portsmouth fans discuss latest Paul Downing snub

Fans have been having their say on Kenny Jackett’s decision to overlook Paul Downing for Saturday’s 4-1 defeat at Accrington.

Monday, 16th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 6:42 pm

The Blues boss opted to play Tom Naylor in the centre of defence at the Crown Ground – taking him out of his normal midfield position – as injuries and absences forced a major back-line reshuffle.

Downing looked a natural fit to fill one of the voids, but the centre-half was overlooked once more as Jackett turned to others, including Sean Raggett.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The former Blackburn defender, who helped Rovers win promotion from League One in 2018, hasn’t featured in the league since September 17, with more than half of his 13 appearances coming in the various cup competitions.

Downing’s continued absence following his arrival in the summer has led fans to question why the experienced 28-year-old was signed in the first place.

And with Jackett often opting to utilise players out of position, greater emphasis has been placed on the centre-back’s value to the squad.

Here’s a selection of the views shared on the matter on our Facebook page Portsmouth FC – The News…

Pompey defender Paul Downing

Philip Hibbert: To all the fans who have been moaning about playing a centre-forward at centre-back alongside Burgess, now you know why!

It’s because the signings Jacket made pre-season were very poor and miles away from League One standard.

I don’t rate Bolton, Raggett, Downing or McCrorie.

Without significant quality investment in January (which I can’t see coming) our season will be over by February.

David Foster: Okay, I get that he felt Naylor could add some important ‘talking’ to a completely new back four, but it still says a lot about how he must rate Downing overall.

Cath Absolom: Exactly! That was only one match, but he hasn't played at all in nearly 3 months! Apart from the odd Cup game, here & there! But that's all!

Barrie Jenkins: In short, despite what you’re saying is that you have no faith or trust in him, if you had you would have played him sooner.

You weakend an already weak midfield by moving TN.

This is just more confused thinking by someone who has lost touch.

Ian Batchelor: Naylor has just come back from injury and you play him out of position in an already thrown together defence.

Can everyone but Jackett see that was a poor decision?

Greg Wringe: God forbid he (Jackett) plays people in the natural positions they were recruited for.

Morgan Corney: Heaven forbid u drop Close. Also, why carry on playing 4-2-3-1 when you don’t have a 10 and haven't all season.

Play 4-3-3 with McCrorie and Cannon either side of Naylor – would bring great energy to the middle of the park and we may actually win the midfield battle for the first time all season.

Steve Hudson: 5 experts already with different answers to the problem. Easy job being a manager.

Christopher Elston: Did we or did we not need a strong influential midfielder against Accrington?

By dropping Naylor into central defence, Jackett weakened both areas.

I don't understand his decision making at times.

Michael Critchett: Awful full stop… put men in right position and then you have got a chance.

Darren Archer: Why did he sign a player who he doesn’t play?

Ryan Tout: We brought him (Downing) in as an experienced centre-back and then don’t play him - horrific decision making, again!

Matthias Purnell: Really needed Naylor in front of the CBs as cover, McCrorie and Close were like ghosts, every ball through the middle went past them.

Can't believe Jackett didn't switch things at HT because it was blatantly clear our midfield were being overrun.

Note: Opinions expressed on our Facebook page do not reflect the views of The News and should not be interpreted as full representation of views shared by all Pompey supporters.