jubel2017gEn tredel av sesongen er spilt. Vår medlem Michael Pantling tar et blikk på sesongen så langt.

 

The season so far
Kenny Jackett seems to have found his preferred team and they are doing OK but rarely wonderfully.

Unlike last season, we are missing that edge that gets us 3 points when we didn’t play particularly well especially against the better teams in the division.

We have been very unlucky with injuries and this was very evident when Christian Burgess was out and Matt Clarke was the only recognised central defender – Jack Whatmough (bildet til høyre) did really well during his brief comeback but remains on the long term injury list. To be fair Oliver Hawkins gave it a good try when he had to step in.

jack whatmough91Dion Donohue has performed well on the left but his inexperience shows and his temperament attracts the unwanted attention of referees. His predecessor Enda Stevens has show how good he is by keeping his regular position with Sheffield United, who are doing remarkably well for a newly promoted team.

I very much like the look of Matt Kennedy and hope that Pompey make his loan permanent during the New Year transfer window.

It is interesting that Ben Close is regularly picked in place of the more experienced Danny Rose but saying that Ben is undoubtedly a skilful player who seems to improve the more first team matches he gets.

Stuart O’Keefe is beginning to assert himself in midfield, he is clearly more skilful that Doyle but still lacks the drive and presence to push his teammates on.

I cannot see Talbot playing for us again
It is a bit of a pity that Evans is only used as a substitute right back since he tries really hard whenever he plays and gives us something extra on the right. I cannot see Talbot playing for us again unless we face a desperate injury crisis his performance against Oldham at Fratton was truly dreadful. When fit Thompson has shown his robustness and has general done well.

It was never going to be easy for Luke McGee particularly with the numerous forced changes with the back four, however he has made some great saves and continues to improve.

I have sometimes thought that Pitman did very little except of course score goals. This was not the case against Bradford where his work rate couldn’t be faulted. Bennet could so easily have been the match winner against Bradford but he badly missed 3 really good chances – lots of running and skill but appalling finishing.

I’m still not convinced that Connor Chaplin is anything but a useful impact player and I think Kenny Jacket is right to use him as he does.

Jamal Lowe is fast skilful and strong and he too continues to improve.

Kal Naismith continues to miss out and Ben Close is also preferred to Adam May who featured early on.  Milan Lalkovic has disappeared through injury. Curtis Main has dropped down the selection order after Pitman and Hawkins (rightly so).

Not ready for a Championship challenge
The team are putting in competent performances but it is clear that they are up against better organised and more skilful opposition that last season. We do well against the “lesser” clubs but not so well against the top performers – I think the Bradford match showed that on our day we can match be better clubs as well but need to work on our consistency and have a bit of luck.

On what I have seen so far I predict that we are good enough for a top 10 finish but would struggle to make the play-offs – we are nowhere top 2.

It is noteworthy that this has been achieved on a “fan owned” budget that hasn’t been increase under the new ownership – it is a budget that is lower than the league average and our position reflects than.

Given the state of Fratton Park, that is where immediate investment us urgently needed – we regularly get crowds that are close to capacity and cannot currently improve on that. We simply are not ready for a Championship challenge and the enormous cost increase associated with it.

We are doing ok and can play entertaining football – it is going in the right direction but remains “work in progress”.

milton end2 
Det må gjøres en del arbeid på Fratton Park.