Lowe's on the defensive at Pompey
Defending '“ even Jamal Lowe was unaware of the capability buried deep within his footballing make-up.
Nonetheless, the willing winger has been educated in the art by Kenny Jackett and his coaching team.
During four clean sheets in Pompey’s past five matches, Lowe’s tireless enthusiasm for aiding his full-back has caught the eye.
On Saturday, the in-form Blues secured an impressive 1-0 victory at Charlton, tallying a sixth win in seven games in the process.
Featuring on the left flank was Lowe, working in tandem with left-back Brandon Haunstrup both in defence as well as attack.
Further evidence of the former Hampton & Richmond player’s improving awareness – and fulfilment of Jackett’s instructions to his wide men.
Lowe said: ‘I have improved defensively massively, massively.
‘If you had seen me defend a year ago then no chance. People were walking past me!
‘It has been hard to get my head around, but I think I’m just about getting there now.
‘That is with help from the coaches making sure I am always switched on, because the minute you switch off they can be in.
‘One of the manager’s main points is that it is all well and good attacking, but there is a whole other side to the game you have to start looking at otherwise you can’t play.
‘You can go forward, but you also have to put a shift in defensively, which has been noticeable in our play recently with quite a few clean sheets. It’s about defending as a team.
‘As a winger, you are one of the outlets going forward, but also have to do your work going back – it’s one of those things we work on in training pretty much every day.
‘We do a lot of work on shape, such as if you are positioned in the right way then it can minimise your running.
‘A lot of teams are attacking with their full-backs, so as wingers we have to stay with them all the way.
‘I still prefer attacking, but will always do what is asked of me on the pitch.’
Lowe’s adjustment towards defending has ensured he has replaced Matty Kennedy on the left of the attacking three in the past three matches.
With Gareth Evans on the other side, Pompey are equipped with two wide man capable of effectively supporting their full-backs.
Lowe added: ‘Some games you watch the video back and I’m standing next to Gaz Evans or Nathan Thompson and it looks like I’m playing right-back!
‘Under Paul Cook was completely different and I think that might be something to do with the league. We were more dominant in League Two, while coming up you have to earn your way into it a lot more.
‘The team last year had a high percentage of the ball the majority of the time, so defending was a lot less. Now teams are better so they get their fair amount of chances.
‘I’m not saying we weren’t defending last year – but we are now asked to defend a little bit more.’