This article is part of Football League World’s ‘Player view’ series. This content strand is where we put ourselves in the shoes of a given player and offer an opinion-based outlook on the perspective on the situation at hand…
Brett Pitman was once the poster-boy for Pompey fans. Scoring 25 goals in the 2017/18 season, he seemed to be the player Kenny Jackett could build a squad around.
His skillset certainly suited the 4-2-3-1 formation Pompey liked to play; he’s aggressive and strong, can hold the ball up but also ‘go it alone’ and create goals. He also has a certain self-confidence that is unique to selfish, prolific strikers.
Last season he tumbled down the pecking order, finding himself on the bench as Ollie Hawkins got the nod. January saw loan men James Vaughan and Omar Bogle come in, with Pitman again fighting for his future.
The same has been the case this season. John Marquis made a big-money summer move and will be the focal point of the attack meaning 31-year-old Pitman is again fighting for his place. He’s proven his worth in a small way, bagging the only goal of the game during their 1-0 win against League Two side Crawley in the EFL Trophy.
He later claimed that no other player on the squad would score that goal and is seemingly determined to put himself back in the first team. The Jersey-born striker has been a regular for most of the clubs he’s played for, but this is the biggest fight of his career.
He must realise ousting a player who cost such a huge sum is going to be tough. Portsmouth don’t spend money without good reason and the purchase of Marquis was out of sync with much of their shrew transfer business.
That presents a real problem for Pitman, who still has Ollie Hawkins to consider as well. No matter what a manager says about giving players a chance and picking a team on merit, Pitman is experienced enough to know that’s simply not true.
Why on earth would Jackett drop Marquis because a reserve striker scored a goal against a League Two side that made changes to their regular first team? He wouldn’t. Plus, saying that nobody could score the goal he did is just likely to further rub people up the wrong way, not least his rival Marquis.
Brett Pitman has been good for Portsmouth but as he enters the last year of his contract, he must have one eye on what happens next, rather than his immediate Pompey future.
His route to the first team is blocked by an expensive purchase and his fall from grace last season was rapid and firm. All the confidence in the world won’t make him a first-choice striker and as the season goes on, interviews like that will only alienate him further.