It’s been widely reported that Portsmouth are interested in adding Calvin Miller to their ranks before next week’s transfer deadline.
Pompey have had a tough start to the season, losing left-back Lee Brown to injury and having to rely on academy graduate Brandon Haunstrup over the coming weeks.
Kenny Jackett has even been forced to play Rangers Ross McCrorie at full-back as their squad is tested even at this early stage of the season.
That’s allegedly prompted him to turn his attentions to Miller, the Celtic man who spent time on loan with Dundee and Ayr last season.
What do his stats from those loan spells tell us about the youngster? Can he fill the void left by Brown, perhaps even making the left back spot his own? Our latest spotlight piece attempts to find out.
21-year-old Miller has only a handful of appearance to his name at Parkhead, with five starts in his time as a professional. He’s currently plying his trade in their Under 20 setup and surely needs senior football in order to develop.
He got that at Dundee and Ayr last season, struggling to keep the former in the SPFL and failing to earn the latter a spot at their expense. Across both loan spells he amassed 29 senior matches, of which 23 were starts (15 with Dundee, eight with Ayr United).
Despite being a left-back by trade, he often found himself in a far more advanced left-wing role for Dundee, even playing as a right-winger or centre forward for Ayr. That’s certainly something Portsmouth could utilise; versatility, but they do need a left-back first and foremost.
However, as with McCrorie, Jackett has shown he’s not afraid to play players out of position, or in a variety of places across the field.
How did Miller’s stats hold up during those loan spells? He certainly showed he was ready for senior football, winning 57.8% of his defensive duels. When you consider he was also played in an attacking role, that’s a good return.
The same must be said for his interceptions and clearances per game. He made 3.35 interceptions and 1.65 clearances per game across his 29 matches; but Ayr rarely played him as a defender. His time at Dundee contributed mostly to these stats and his versatility on the left flank is much like that of Ipswich Town’s Luke Garbutt.
Pushing forward Miller clearly has a lot to offer. He averaged 5.55 crosses per game, a good number although likely boosted by playing a more advanced role. His pass accuracy was 64.2%, not the greatest number but perhaps also affected by the uncertainty over where he was playing from week to week.
What Portsmouth would be signing here is a player desperate for an identity. He’s got qualities as a left-back, as well as a left-winger and could play in a couple of roles in Pompey’s 4-2-3-1 formation. He might be good cover for Lee Brown, but there is also a suggestion he might be an adequate replacement for Jamal Lowe.