A potential glimpse of a potent Portsmouth four-pronged attack at Crawley
Pompey writer Will Rooney looks at the pre-match talking points ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Crawley.
A POTENT ATTACKING QUARTET
Pompey have refused to budge on their asking price for Jamal Lowe.
The Blues have rebuffed a £2.6m bid from Wigan as they await an offer of £3m.
Kenny Jackett admits he’s not sure whether Paul Cook will come back with another bid before the Championship transfer window closes on August 8.
But, in the meantime, we may get a glimpse of the delicious attacking front line Pompey could boast for the forthcoming season if Lowe remains at Fratton Park.
Marcus Harness' arrival for a figure approaching £1m is not just a statement of intent financially but it represents the capture of a top-quality League One forward.
Despite operating in a right-wing role for Burton last season, the 23-year-old could well be the number 10 the Blues have lacked – and needed – during Jackett’s two years in charge.
Harness’ ‘parting gift’ to the Brewers was his thunderbolt of a goal which delivered Nigel Clough’s men a 2-1 pre-season win over Premier League Sheffield United.
The way the Coventry-born ace intricately weaved himself space in a tight position before lashing home a shot underlined he’d be comfortable in a central position.
If Pompey keep hold of Lowe then that would arguably be the best piece of business they’ll complete all summer.
He’d line up on the right flank with Ronan Curtis, who's looking rejuvenated after a much-needed break, featuring on the opposite side.
And with Ellis Harrison spearheading the attack, the quartet would form a four-pronged pacy attack with the capabilities to besiege any opponent.
When Tom Naylor collected his Players' Player of the Season award, featuring at centre-back during 2019-20 probably didn’t cross his mind.
He was Pompey's midfielder enforcer last term, superbly screening the defence and providing bite in the engine room.
The arrival of the highly-rated Ross McCrorie from Rangers, however, meant Naylor was used in the heart of defence alongside Paul Downing in the 1-0 win at Stevenage, as well as for a period behind closed doors at Brighton’s training ground on Tuesday.
It’s a position the 28-year-old played in at Burton, so it’s not at all foreign to him.
Naylor is someone Kenny Jackett has the utmost trust in, although it meant specialist centre-halves Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett were forced to watch from the substitutes' bench at Broadhall Way.
He gives Jackett flexibility and the boss isn’t scared of switching him from defence to midfield.
Nevertheless, it could be argued that’ll disrupt Naylor’s rhythm and it’s best to nail him down in one berth.
But to accommodate the ex-Derby man and McCrorie in his side then the latter may continue to feature in the rearguard.
HARRISON OUT TO BREAK DUCK
It’s been a fruitful pre-season programme for Pompey so far.
Yet Ellis Harrison may not quite see it that way from a personal perspective.
That’s not to say the £450,000 summer arrival from Ipswich hasn’t started his Fratton Park career in decent form.
He’s provided the Blues with the pace they lacked at times last season, while he’s also displayed his aerial prowess.
The striker still awaits something he’ll be craving, though – a first goal.
Now, he might have achieved that behind closed doors at Brighton on Tuesday. Unfortunately, we’ll never know!
But in front of supporters, Harrison is still to net and is sitting on a duck egg.
Kenny Jackett has taken the heat off his marksmen to score the lion’s share of goals, with those in behind expected to weigh in with a significant proportion.
But, as any main striker in any team will be wary of, Harrison must also chip in with his share.