Kenny Jackett has affirmed his confidence that the strike partnership of Brett Pitman and John Marquis can continue developing into a dangerous combination for his Portsmouth side.
The Pompey boss has paired Pitman and Marquis together in attack in recent weeks, and the partnership yielded positive results last time out as Pitman netted the winning goal in the south-coast side’s 1-0 victory over Bolton Wanderers.
Marquis also played a starring role during the victory with Jackett having made a tactical switch to fit both players in his new 4-4-2 formation following his side’s disappointing start to the season.
The Fratton Park outfit currently sit 19th in the League One table having won just two of their opening eight matches so far this campaign, but Jackett now appears confidence his new strike duo can fire Pompey to success.
Pitman and Marquis scored a combined total of 32 goals between them last term, and Jackett has claimed the duo compliment each other’s game to form a natural strike partnership together.
“John makes very good runs and can receive the ball in tight areas. Like most goalscorers, when he starts scoring he will get a run of goals,” he told The Portsmouth News.
“Brett will be slightly closer to the (number) nine than he has been, certainly in the last two games he has formed a relationship with the nine.
“He will generally come to feet and hopefully be able to hold the ball, while John’s movement is very good, so it’s quite a natural partnership.”
Jackett went on to reveal that Portsmouth have been spending time working on the partnership in training, with Pitman and Marquis working on their combinations around the box in order to continue understanding each other’s playing style.
“Can he [Pitman] and John complement each other? Yes. Can it form a good partnership? Yes. Are there goals in those guys? I think so,” he stated.
“We have worked on it a lot in training, they now always train together, we put them on the same team. In terms of pattern of play, it is combinations, combination around the box particularly.
“It’s something we’re going to work hard at and hopefully let develop.”
This strike partnership feels like Portsmouth’s best solution if they want to turn their poor early-season form around, but it is crucial that the correct work is done on the training pitch to make function effectively.
The Bolton match saw Pitman find the net and Marquis deliver a starring performance which means the pairing certainly can work, but Marquis has sometimes appeared isolated in Pompey’s game play so far this campaign.
It may be a good idea for Jackett to opt for Marcus Harness in the hole behind Pitman and Marquis in order to facilitate the ball’s transition from midfield to attack with greater ease.
Portsmouth certainly have the quality to challenge for promotion this season, but it is vital Jackett finds the right combination as soon as possible to enable his side to start climbing the table.