Portsmouth skipper delivers strong statement at Walsall while Cardiff and Birmingham loanees prove their worth
Will Rooney assesses the talking points from Pompey’s 3-2 victory at Walsall...
Darren Anderton couldn’t believe how Brett Pitman wasn’t getting into Pompey’s match-day squad.
Warren Cummings was baffled why his former AFC Bournemouth team-mate was out in the cold.
That’s a view large sections of the Fratton faithful concurred with while last season’s 25-goal top scorer was on the sidelines.
But after an impressive substitute appearance in the 2-1 loss to Charlton on Saturday, Pitman was rewarded with his first start in 10 games against Walsall.
And didn’t he grasp his chance. Playing in the No10 role, the captain gave the Blues the finesse, flair and class that has been missing at times since the turn of the year.
It was just one league win in 10 heading to the Bescot Stadium, with some fans worried Pompey’s play-off hopes would jettison completely.
But Pitman's display underlined why Jackett isn’t giving up on automatic promotion just yet.
The forward coolly the scoring from the penalty spot in the 13th minute, while it was his intelligent dispossession of Jon Guthrie that led to Viv Solomon-Otabor putting Pompey 3-0 up.
If Pitman maintains those sort of performance levels from now until the end of the season then the Blues won’t be all that far away from the top two.
While Brett Pitman garnered the majority of the plaudits at Walsall, Omar Bogle wasn’t all that far behind.
The striker was reinstalled to Kenny Jackett’s starting line-up after recovering from his hamstring injury and dovetailed seamlessly with the captain.
Pace, power, decent in the air – Bogle is the sort of marksman who has all the attributes Jackett wants.
The Cardiff loanee displayed good movement to latch on to Craig MacGillivray’s long punt, before producing an excellent lofted finish to double Pompey’s lead.
It’s a big boot he’s back.
It’s a blow to Pompey, with the Irishman just starting to return to his very best.
One player who won’t be complaining too much, tough, is Viv Soloman-Otabor.
The Birmingham loanee has had a slightly frustrating spell since his arrival in January, making only his fourth start.
But the winger showed plenty of encouraging signs, especially as the game wore one.
He showed his composure in final third to net what turned out to be the decisive goal and that should give his confidence a big boost.