Portsmouth came away from Fratton Park with a 3-3 draw against a resilient Coventry City side last night, but the way they earned a point will surely cause their fans concern over the coming weeks.
Pompey were 3-1 up against their visitors, who were reduced to ten men shortly after the third goal. The Sky Blues pulled one back from the penalty spot, but then had another player sent off. All Pompey had to do was hold out for ten minutes against nine men.
Usually, that situation would demand the home side go on the front foot and look for more goals. Instead, Kenny Jackett brought on another defender and invited the pressure on to his side. With a two-man advantage, they conceded a late goal and ended up drawing the game.
It wasn’t a great display from the home side, despite going 3-1 up. When the pressure increased, key players seemed to hide away and left the impetus with Mark Robins’ team. That’s a worry for the home supporters and it won’t be the only one they have this season.
Kenny Jackett is in his third year as manager at Portsmouth and he is seemingly trying to use the same method to get a promotion which he tried in his first two seasons. He sets his side up not to get beat and usually they’re dour but resilient. Even with exciting attacking players like Ronan Curtis and Jamal Lowe last season, they flattered to deceive at home.
This season, fans surely hoped for more. The two-legged play-off semi-final against Sunderland underlined all the problems Jackett faced; a lack of penetration, a focus on defence and no attacking flair. The problems were there for all to see, but this season they’ve not been addressed.
On the contrary, Pompey no longer look assured and complete at the back. They’ve not added a real flair, despite their three goals last night, and the bedrock of their promotion campaign last season isn’t evident this time out. They miss Matt Clarke at the back, and they miss Jamal Lowe up front.
It isn’t all doom and gloom, John Marquis does look as though he’ll score goals for them, but is Kenny Jackett on borrowed time? There has been plenty of talk about the pressure Jack Ross must be feeling, but surely Jackett has the same. Portsmouth are a huge club for this level, and they’ve shown their buying power in the summer.
However, it doesn’t matter how good the players you have are if the tactics are not right. Jackett doesn’t seem adventurous at home and his substitutions are often odd. He’s played Ross McCrorie out of position already and doesn’t seem to know which players to put where. All he knows is he wants to stick to his principles, 4-2-3-1 and try to win the league the same way he’s failed to in the last two years.
How much longer will Portsmouth’s hierarchy put up with obscurity before they make a bold decision and remove the former Wolves man from his post?