Why Portsmouth target Jayden Stockley shouldn't be judged on his first spell - rivalled interest from Charlton, Ipswich and Rotherham speaks volumes

He's a transfer target that the Fratton faithful are well of aware of.

Tuesday, 8th June 2021, 5:00 pm

And the possibility of Jayden Stockley arriving at Pompey this summer has whet the appetite of substantial sections of supporters.

After all, he fits the bill of a target man Danny Cowley covets, is currently a Championship player, and would add serious competition to John Marquis and Ellis Harrison.

Yet there are some fans who've been left underwhelmed by his potential arrival from Preston North End.

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Indeed, those who are a little less receptive can often be seen referring back to the striker’s brief spell at Fratton Park six years ago.

The marksman was part of Paul Cook's 2015 summer overhaul, arriving on loan from Bournemouth.

In total, he scored two goals in 12 appearances before being sent back to his parent club when his deal expired in the January.

It wasn't a loan that went entirely to plan. Stockley often was omitted from match-day squads, with the likes of Marc McNulty, Caolan Lavery, Conor Chaplin and even Matt Tubbs preferred at various times.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 09: Jayden Stockley of Charlton Athletic reacts during the Sky Bet League One match between Charlton Athletic and Hull City at The Valley on May 09, 2021 in London, England. Sporting stadiums around the UK remain under strict restrictions due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in games being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Jacques Feeney/Getty Images)

However, to think Pompey would be getting the same Stockley – should be prised to PO4 – would be naive.

Since exiting Fratton Park six years ago, Stockley has played 231 matches, many of which have come in the Championship, and scored 74 goals.

During that period, he completed a move from League Two Exeter to the second tier during the middle of the 2018-19 season.

And even if he’s not hit the heights he’d have liked at Deepdale, Stockley would have accrued plenty of nous and know-how in the second tier.

Jayden Stockley, left, celebrates scoring for Pompey at Bristol Rovers during his loan spell in 2015 with Gareth Evans. Picture: Joe Pepler

He put all his knowledge he picked up to good use on loan at Charlton during the second half of last campaign, demonstrating he's more than capable of spearheading a side chasing League One promotion.

Stockley netted eight times in 22 games for the Addicks as they narrowly missed out on the play-offs.

He provided the Londoners with a focal point up top, as well as chipping in with a respectable share of their goals.

The Fratton faithful got a first-hand experience of the handful he can be during Pompey's 3-1 win at The Valley in February.

Then-manager Lee Bowyer felt the home side were outfought throughout, although that verdict didn't go for Stockley – who bagged the Addicks' consolation.

Bowyer said: ‘If there is any positive to take from tonight, it’s Jayden’s performance. Balls that went up to him. Even balls that he shouldn’t even hold onto and keep, he keeps.

‘He’s just a constant threat. Every time there’s a ball going into the box, you’re thinking, where is he? He must be a nightmare for defenders.’

The step up to the second tier at Preston has been a challenge too far.

However, given the calibre of Stockley’s admirers this summer, there's a clear belief he's capable of playing a significant role for a side with designs on reaching the Championship.

Their respective managers – Nigel Adkins, Cook and Paul Warne – have all delivered promotion from League One before and know the ilk of player required.

The fact that Cook is interested in re-signing the Poole-born ace underlines the vast improvements he’s made.

After all, the Liverpudlian was the man in charge of Stockley at PO4. If he believed the 27-year-old wasn't capable of replacing the likes of Kayden Jackson and James Norwood as part of his Portman Road revolution then surely he wouldn't be showing interest.

In truth, there's no point judging Stockley on his previous period donning the star and crescent.

Should he make a return to Fratton Park, gauge him on how he fares this time around.