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Lee Brown offers verdict on key Portsmouth tweak

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Portsmouth picked up their first win in four games after beating Bolton Wanderers 1-0 at Fratton Park. It was the second game in a row manager Danny Cowley changed his defensive structure after drawing 2-2 with Accrington Stanley in their first. The change came after the side conceded four goals against Ipswich Town and Rotherham United back-to-back.

Cowley’s side is sat 13th in the league and has lost more games than they have won this season, with most of them coming from playing with a back-three. However, with a change in the system has come a change in results. Full-back Lee Brown has benefited from the change moving back to his regular position on the left of the defence. The 31-year-old told The News: “It’s just nice to get a consistent run and we want to get a good consistent back five, that includes the goalkeeper, in any team. Hopefully, we can play more games together without injuries or bookings getting in the way so we’ll see how we go.”

In the back three, Brown was utilised as a wing-back, playing more as a midfielder which has bought him a level of success going forward. In 14 league games, Brown has scored three and assisted two, giving him a goal participation rate of 28%. So far this season he has played both as a wing-back, a full-back and a centre-back but Brown has admitted he has a favourite.

“Personally, I prefer left-back as I’ve played most of my career there. But if he wants me to play left of a three or as a wing-back, I’ll do whatever he wants me to do. I think I can give more to the team at left-back if I need to. I’ll go wherever.”

Playing a back four has allowed Portsmouth to add a level of stability within their shape, something they lacked in their other formation. The 4-2-3-1 system allows the side to be more stable in central areas with two central midfielders behind the attacking three. The formation allows the squad to play tight, defensively and control central areas something a more expansive three back-formation can’t do.

The captain knows it’s important the side use the positivity around the change in system to carry on a run of results that will help them climb the table. After the win at the weekend, Pompey leapfrogged Bolton Wanderers and will look to pick up another three points at home against fellow mid-table side Cheltenham Town tomorrow night.

The Verdict

It’s clear to see the back four offers more to Portsmouth as a whole than the back three. The results whilst playing in each formation show that. The flat-four offers more structurally and keeps the defence solidity whilst still allowing the midfield to dominate areas of the pitch. It’s also important for the side to get a steady five of players in place for the majority of the season and with their personal and numbers at the back, it would be easier to do that in a back four.

For Brown, the change allows him to play where he wants too and having players happy in their positions will only help the mood of the squad in general. His threat going forward has been useful in the three-back formation but his defensive capabilities are more important and what he’s best at. The change will bring more success for Portsmouth and if they want to climb up the league, playing a back four would be best.

Quiz: Do you know what club these 28 ex-Portsmouth players are playing at now?

1 of 28

Gareth Evans?


ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Lee Brown offers verdict on key Portsmouth tweak

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