POMPEY go into Saturday’s game at Bristol Rovers still struggling to find their creative side with more than a quarter of the season already over.
The John Marquis strike in the home win over Lincoln in midweek was only Pompey’s 13th league goal this season in 12 games – one of the worst records in League One. It was, however, another clean sheet and their goals against record is the second best in the division.
The balancing act between defence and attack is clearly weighing heavily on the minds of the manager and his players, with Kenny Jackett aware the Pompey fans are demanding they play on the front foot both home and away.
The ‘Jackett Out’ section will point to a recent record of just one goal in their last three games – two at home – against sides both fans and players expect to comfortably beat. The other argument would point at a run of ten points from the last 15 and only two goals conceded in their last five league games.
“There has been a lack of goals lately. We’ve tightened up at one end, but haven’t put enough away at the other,” said Jackett, whose picked up their third league win in five at home to the Imps.
“Whether you’re creating the chances is irrelevant – the bottom lines is how many you score. It’s a big thing.
“That might be about creating more openings or it might be about being more clinical when they do come along. But I do have confidence in my players that it will come, and we certainly have the quality there to do that.”
One of those players with that quality in the final third is John Marquis, who has managed only three goals in 16 games since his summer move.
The former Doncaster striker is clearly frustrated at both his lack of goals and the lack of chances being created for him.
He said: “It was a good feeling because it had been a few games since I’d last scored, although I haven’t had as many chances as I would have liked.
“I’m a goalscorer and my record in the past few years proves that (26 last season). I know I’ll take the opportunities more regularly when they come along.
“It’s just a case of keep on making those runs and getting into the right areas, and eventually the ball will fall to me.”
• Tickets for the FA Cup trip to Harrogate Town go on sale on Wednesday, October 30, but Pompey have been allocated only 616 tickets for the first-round tie. Due to the small allocation a loyalty points scheme will be used with full details at portsmouthfc.co.uk. The game is on Monday, November 11 (7.45pm kick-off) and will be screened live on BT Sport.