Teenage Kicks: Pompey squad depth can prove decisive

The strength in depth within Pompey's squad has proven key so far this season, despite disappointing elements to the campaign.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 12:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 2:16 pm
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler

Before we got our latest promotion bid under way, it was highlighted the Blues’ healthy budget would help them gain an advantage over their opponents.

This theory was prompted by the new loan rules – which meant teams can now only recruit in the summer and in January.

Although the Blues currently find themselves in a similarly frustrating position to last season – on the cusp of the top three yet struggling to find top form, there is evidence our large squad is coming to fruition.

Crucially, this indicates it could become a defining factor of the second half of the season – when smaller squads will become hampered by injury and fatigue.

An example of where the depth of our squad becomes useful would be the recent resurgence of previously transfer listed Kal Naismith.

A few poor performances or an injury or two allows players like the skiful Scot the opportunity to grab a stake their claim for a starting spot.

His excellent driven finish against Luton Town was another example of his talent.

Naismith has offered the Blues a different dimension going forward, a different option.

Managers with smaller squads do not have this luxury when results turn sour.

Another example is Michael Smith, who bullied defences in the three games prior to yesterday’s visit to Grimsby, bagging three goals in the process.

Despite the lack of match minutes for some players, I certainly do not think there is anyone frozen out of the equation.

The door is open.

Milan Lalkovic has not seen much of the first team recently but I do not doubt it is only a matter of time before he makes an impact, when given the opportunity.

I suspect this squad depth could give Pompey an advantage in the coming months, especially over rivals still involved in the FA Cup.

Having said that, there are serious concerns regarding that dreaded word – consistency.

The January transfer window is soon upon us and I hope the club look to add a couple of players who are in form.

Players who could give us an extra edge.

I trust Paul Cook to identify the problems within the side, let’s hope he can address them.

It is a long season but that is easily said, the fact of the matter is Pompey need to get better.

Ben Sturt is 17 years old and has been a season-ticket holder in the Fratton End for more than a decade.

He writes a weekly column in the Sports Mail where he discusses the key talking points at Pompey – from the perspective of a younger supporter.