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Phenomenal Pack : Burton Review

Marlon Pack strikes a free kick

Marlon Pack’s performance under the floodlights at PO4 Tuesday evening, stands out as one the most dominant midfield performances seen at Fratton Park for some time.

The skipper displayed all his quality in the engine room, showing class and control throughout the ninety minutes. You couldn’t help but feel in awe of what was unfolding in front of us, with Pack looking head and shoulders above everybody else out on the field. 

With the ball there were the countless reverse passes that broke the line of Burton’s midfield, always being available to receive from the back three and repeatedly winning his duals, both aerially and in tackles. Pack has never been blessed with blistering pace, but his ability to read the game and keeps him one step ahead of his opponents. 

Since the first whistle against Northampton at the beginning of February, Marlon Pack’s performances have gone to another level. 

Let’s also not forget, the captain has different pressures to that the rest of the squad may be feeling, which makes his recent form all the more impressive.

He is a local lad, he supports his hometown club and will have friends and family members who as expectant and hopeful as the rest of us that this could be the year we get out of League One. But he is embracing all the scrutiny that come his way, leading this team with some outstanding performances as we enter crunch time for The Blues season.

There were plenty of other positive performances from the boys in blue on display against The Brewers. 

Pack was well supported by Owen Moxon, who gave an all-energy performance, playing a leading role in Pompey’s second goal. Keeping the ball alive, he was back in the thick of the build-up to set up Kamara for another assist. Despite starting the last couple of games from the bench, it seems he is becoming more comfortable in the setup with each passing game. 

The back three were solid and dependable, as we have come to expect from that trio. Raggett and Shaughnessy with Joe Rafferty tucking into the outside centre back position never really looked troubled. 

Christian Saydee has found form, following that impactful performance versus Oxford. When in possession he is an immovable force, but also looking threatening with his new found confidence. 

Fan favourite Yengi gave us one of the misses of the season, much to the disbelief of everyone in the terraces. That miss seemed to spark the Australian into life, which says a lot about the mental resilience and confidence of the young striker. He was instantly back into the action, turning with the ball and driving at the Burton back five. 

Then winning the penalty, he was able to pick himself up and produce that audacious 'paneka', sitting the goalkeeper down as the ball eased into the centre of the net. To have the belief in his ability and courage to finish in such a manner at a critical stage of the game, following that missed sitter, was quite frankly mind boggling. 

The Bishop or Yengi debate now has real legs, with the boss having a big decision to make. 

Over the past few weeks on social media some Pompey fans have called for Yengi to get the nod over Bishop, with Mousinho favouring his top scorer for the majority of fixtures. 

Form and confidence can play a huge part in a strikers performance and there is no question that the Australian international has both right now. 

Colby Bishop brings more to the team than goals of course, he links play well, brings players in from midfield and is a threat in and around the 18 yard box. You only need to look at his role in both of the goals in the Oxford victory to see that. 

Yengi offers a different threat, powerful, more direct and able to run in behind. It is a great position to be in for the manager, having two top strikers for League One level, that can offer different attributes to the side. 

When there are big decisions to be made, we have no reason to doubt the judgment of John Mousinho. The gaffer has shown he is not afraid to make the tough calls with both selection and setup during the season. 

For Tuesday’s game, the switch to three at the back with two 10’s creating a box midfield, showcased the tactical versatility and know how the manager has. There was a clear plan to break the line beyond the Burton midfield block, allowing The Blues to get at the opponents backline. 

Saydee and Pack combined numerous times in the first half on the inside right and watching the technical area there was constant communication between the away teams coaching staff, trying to figure out a solution. There was interchanging movement as well between Lane and Peart-Harris that gave further headaches for the visiting team to deal with. 

Many previous managers may well have ‘shoe-horned’ a makeshift left back to cover for the absentees of Sparkes and Ogilvie. But Mousinho has demonstrated that whatever system his team deploys, it does not alter the fluidity and style that we have become accustomed to this season.

Further challenges lay ahead in the final eight games, starting with the tough test of Peterborough at London Road. 

The boss has some tough decisions to make with formation and selections, but whatever choices he makes, we should have every faith in them coming off successfully.

Weather in Portsmouth
Tuesday Sunny intervals High 13°C   Low 5°C
Wednesday Sunny intervals High 12°C   Low 3°C

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