Why Portsmouth striker Ellis Harrison deserves praise after summer of Sheffield Wednesday, Oxford and Plymouth interest and shouldn't be written off by Fratton faithful

Ellis Harrison has plenty more to offer Pompey after his hat-trick performance at Plough Lane.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 6:30 pm

That’s the verdict of The News’ chief sports writer Neil Allen, who also believes the striker deserves huge credit for his on-the-pitch response following a summer full of transfer speculation.

Harrison bagged three goals on his first start of the season and his maiden inclusion on the starting XI team sheet under Danny Cowley.

His return wasn’t enough to hand the Blues victory on their visit to Wimbledon as the hosts scored five in reply.

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But it was sufficient to prove that he’s not a Fratton Park spent force and can be an effective weapon in the Blues’ promotion armoury.

Since moving to PO4 in 2019, the front man has struggled to find the net on the consistent basis needed to fire Pompey back into the Championship.

Nineteen goals in 72 appearances says it all and justifies Cowley’s willingness to let him go this summer.

The only other time Ellis Harrison scored three goals or more in a game came in 2017 when he notched four for Bristol Rovers in a 5-0 victory against Northampton. Picture: Jason Brown.

And our chief sports writer believes Harrison should be applauded for his goal-laden replay to critics who believe his time on the south coast should have come to an end last month.

Speaking on what Harrison has to offer Pompey moving forward, Allen said: ‘I actually like Ellis Harrison as a player.

‘For me, he gets unfair stick.

‘He’s probably Pompey’s best header of the ball in attacking situations – he’s excellent in the air.

‘He holds the ball up better than John Marquis, he links the play better than John Marquis, he links players in better than John Marquis, he’s a different player to John Marquis, but John Marquis is a better finisher.

‘Harrison can be criticised for his goals return – it is not very good, let’s face it, apart from last night.

‘But I like him and I think he is a really good team player.

‘He runs the channels, he brings people in, he’s got a bit of pace about him and he gives defenders a hard time, which I always like seeing strikers do.

‘Too often over the past few years, centre-halves have had easy games against Pompey strikers – frustratingly easy games.

‘But Harrison puts himself about, gets booked, and physically he’s a pest as well.

‘I like him as a player but he just doesn’t score enough goals and Cowley has said it repeatedly that he’s not done himself justice as a player at Pompey – and I can agree with that.

‘But there’s something about him and I wouldn’t rule him out as a No10, so we’ll see how he proceeds from this because he’s had injuries which have effected him. He’s not started as many games as John Marquis either, so perhaps we can see more of him.

‘I definitely haven’t written him off.

‘Cowley couldn’t get another striker in that he wanted, this is what he’s got and, first game after the window closes, Harrison does that.

‘Fair play to Harrison. You’ve got to applaud him for that.

‘He was excellent and hopefully there’s plenty more to come from him.’