After last year’s play-off heartbreak, Kenny Jackett’s Pompey side have experienced a slow a start to the season by sitting in 18th from five games.
It means pressure to deliver the highs of last year will on Jackett’s mind. He and the club will want promotion. The journey from the brink of extinction, back to the Championship will be a football story football supporters can cherish.
At the expense of this high pressured situation, time for opportunities may run thin; especially if the club earns promotion to the second division.
Players who are not in the team right now, will be hoping they can break through the door to the first-team – before the possibility of shutting for good becomes reality.
Here are two…
The 18-year-old is in the third-year of his scholarship deal with Portsmouth and recently made his full debut against Crawley Town in the EFL trophy. His performance was largely praised by Pompey’s academy manager, Martin Kelly.
Though, Maloney’s career is still young and made a good impression at the first time of asking, the journey to breaking into the team is a long one and the winger will hope he can do it soon rather than later. The experience he gains in his early career will be vital to his confidence and overall development as a player.
If Maloney can make further impressions in the remaining cup games, he may alter Jackett’s thinking of possibly sending him on loan. Instead, he will enter the realms of a first-team player, and introduce his electrifying pace to the Football League.
Lethbridge is a striker that has fierce competition ahead of him. Brett Pitman, Oliver Hawkins, Ellis Harrison and Gareth Evans are all senior strikers, which makes the 18-year-old’s position a difficult one.
The Englishman’s path to breaking into the team is challenging, but if results continue to go against Pompey and promotion becomes a faraway dream, Jackett (or his successor if he loses his job) could send a warning to his senior strikers by introducing Lethbridge into first-team matters.
It’s doubtful, but stranger things have happened in football.