After narrowly missing out on a place in the top-six in 2017/18 before being knocked out in the semi-finals of last season’s show piece event, Porstmouth’s progress looked set to continue this time around.
Under Kenny Jackett they seemed to be improving with each passing campaign, with last season’s fourth place finish the pick of the bunch, before being squeezed out of a place at Wembley by a stubborn Sunderland.
But surely 2019/20 would be the season they finally returned to the second-tier of English football, right?
Well they have given themselves a huge challenge after the opening 15 games if they are going to achieve that goal, sat in 13th place with 15 games played – a huge distance from where fans expected them to be.
Should Marcus Harness be starting for Portsmouth?
So the subsequent frustrations from the Fratton Park faithful have been more than justified, with a large per centage of that frustrated energy being aimed in Kenny Jackett’s direction.
Recent weeks have even heard audible boos coming his way as well as chants aimed at the club’s board for them to get rid of the ex-Wolves and Millwall man.
And you can see why. Last season, Pompey were one of the most entertaining sides in England, with the likes of Jamal Lowe and Ronan Curtis thrilling down either wing.
But with Lowe sold in the summer, a huge chunk of the entertainment value appears to have left with him – fans will often say that winning at all costs is all that matters but they will always be quicker to turn on you if you are also playing an archaic, bland brand of football.
However, there is one man among Portsmouth’s ranks who can re-inject that excitement back into matchdays, as he showed in a cameo role on Tuesday night.
Marcus Harness was brought in during the summer from Burton Albion, seemingly as a low-cost replacement for Lowe, but in recent weeks he has found his game time limited – appearing just once in their last three matches.
However, is explosive cameo in the closing stages of Tuesday’s 4-1 win against Southend showed exactly what the home fans have been missing, scoring a brilliant goal to round off the win.
It is a myth afterall that Jackett is only capable of playing one brand of football. We saw last season how slick his attacking unit was, so it is time he made a move to dispell that myth once again.
Using Harness – a man who will run at defenders, try audacious passes and crosses and generally entertain the crowd – could be the key to Jackett winning the crowd back on side.
Because whilst fans of course want to see their teams’ win, they also want to be an entertaining side.