Why Portsmouth are starting to feel vindicated for January striker shake-up after exits for Lincoln City, Fleetwood Town and Burton Albion

Pompey are beginning to feel justified for their January striker exits following the emergence of Aiden O’Brien and George Hirst.

By Sam Cox
Thursday, 3rd March 2022, 4:55 am

Criticism had fallen on the shoulders of Danny Cowley for sanctioning the departures of John Marquis, Ellis Harrison, and Gassan Ahadme – in place of further loan signings and short-term deals.

And questions heightened after the trio of departees had made promising starts at their new clubs.

But now the goals have seemingly dried up for each, while the Blues are flourishing in that department.

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After the much-maligned Marquis had completed his move to Lincoln, he scored in three consecutive matches – helping the Imps to climb away from the relegation zone.

And his feat followed in the footsteps of his former strike-partner Harrison, who scored on debut for Fleetwood before bagging three games later against Plymouth.

Although it took Ahadme six games to find his first Brewers goal, he doubled his tally a week later after starting five out of the seven games.

However, all three have fired blanks in their last five league appearances for their new clubs – which is a complete contrast to Pompey’s current situation.

From left, Gassan Ahadme, John Marquis and Ellis Harrison

O’Brien’s deadline day arrival from Sunderland, somewhat, underwhelmed sections of the Fratton faithful, but he’s well underway to becoming a cult hero on the south coast.

His infectious personality, combined with his ability to score goals and tireless work-rate has reinvigorated the Blues’ forward line.

The ex-Sunderland man has scored three goals in five appearances, and his presence has brought out the best of George Hirst.

This was reflected in the victory over Oxford United, as the Leicester loanee scored his sixth of the season which capped off an all-round impressive display.

The club should also gain credit for moving high-earning Marquis and Harrison off the books, while opening up a loan space with Ahadme’s departure.

Ahead of the January transfer window, the Fratton outfit’s success within the market relied on moving unwanted players to pastures new.

And it was something they achieved early, which paved the way for the signings of Hayden Carter, Denver Hume, Ollie Webber, O’Brien, and Tyler Walker.

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