The worrying stat that shows Kenny Jackett is still some way from finding his best Portsmouth starting XI

Usually in a build-up to a game, members of the Fratton faithful take to social media to put in their two pence on who should be starting for Pompey.

Sunday, 22nd September 2019, 3:00 pm
Updated Friday, 27th September 2019, 6:28 pm
Pompey manager Kenny Jackett. Picture: Nigel Keene

Leading up to the trip to Wycombe, however, that wasn't the case.

Instead, a large proportion of supporters’ predictions were jokes, although there was an ulterior motive behind them

One fan on Twitter had club mascot, Nelson, playing left-wing, with John Westwood up front.

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Another suggested keeper Alex Bass in central defence, while others predicted various players operating out of position.

Obviously, they were all wisecracks – but, ultimately they stemmed from the unpredictability of Jackett’s team selection this season.

After seven league games, the boss has used no less than 20 players in his starting line-up and is still to name the same XI for successive matches.

What’s clear is the Pompey boss is still searching for his best and most effective formula as his troops sit two points above the drop zone.

Pompey manager Kenny Jackett. Picture: Nigel Keene

While Jackett may know in his head what his strongest set-up is, how he’s consistently altered his team suggests otherwise.

To his credit, the defence – so often the issue – wasn't the problem at Adams Park.

Wycombe rarely looked like scoring from open play. A goal from a set-piece appeared their only hope, which came via Adebayo Akinfenwa’s late penalty.

Even then, it was another new-look Pompey rearguard, with Oli Hawkins dropping to centre-half.

That's now four different pairings in the heart of the back four we’ve seen this term.

It’s a stark contrast to last season when Matt Clarke and Jack Whatmough had featured in the opening six games – conceding four goals – before Christian Burgess replaced the latter in the seventh because of injury.

Despite signing two centre-halves in Paul Downing and Sean Raggett during the summer, neither were required against Wycombe.

And even though he was named man of the match, there’s an argument Hawkins should be operating up front given how many points Jackett’s men garnered last term with him spearheading the attack.

Then add in James Bolton, who became Pompey’s fourth right-back of the season – although there's hope he’ll finally settle down the position.

Worryingly, though, it is going forward that the Blues look a shadow of their former selves.

From second top scorers in League One last season, only Bolton have scored fewer to date this term.

On Saturday, there were two changes in the four attacking positions from the 2-2 draw with Burton.

However, the visitors scarcely threatened Ryan Allsop in the Chairboys goal.

John Marquis was again starved of service, Ellis Harrison featured as a makeshift right-winger, and despite netting on Tuesday Ronan Curtis’ lacklustre form continues.

In fairness, the injured Marcus Harness has been missed significantly and Pompey will be desperate to get him back.

Yet a side with designs on promotion should have the depth to cope without one player for a short period.

Jackett will be forced into one change for the south-coast derby against Southampton, with Harrison suspended after being sent off at Wycombe.

In truth, though, it won’t be a massive shock if there are several other switches following the Adams Park defeat.