Many fans will be looking for Portsmouth to turn a corner this season. Newly appointed manager Paul Cook has reshaped the entire squad, making a total of 13 additions. Many of you will remember Fratton Park’s glory days, they were a Premier League team until 2011, and won the FA Cup in 2008. Getting out of League One is just the first step needed to revive their supporters top flight dreams.
Influential attacking midfielder Jed Wallace joined Championship side Wolves in the summer. It was no secret that the promising youngster would be heading for the exit doors, so plenty of replacements were shortlisted to replace him. Wallace was one of the best in the division, so succeeding him would not be easy. His ability to pull the strings, goalscoring prowess, and of course his tireless work-rate, can not be recovered by just one player.
Kyle Bennett certainly adds the creatively now lacking. While Adam Barton, who arrived on a free transfer, is a hard working midfielder that will be the catalyst of many Pompey attacks. Michael Doyle is another excellent addition from Sheffield United. The 33-year-old Irishman has been a key element for many League one and Championship sides, and has unquestionable quality to grace the forth tier. The leadership skills will also come into play with him being the eldest member of a youthful squad.
With all the new names moving to Hampshire, it may take time for everybody to gell. To help settle the nerves, Cook has brought in fellow former Chesterfield man Gary Roberts. The winger was the Spitites stand out player in their promotion season of 2013/14. He will transfer the skills down south for more League Two glory. Roberts is likely to be one of the first names on the team sheet, many players will have to vie for places to play in front of the Capacity crowd at Fratton Park. You cannot expect very player to settle quickly, and this was the case with Christian Burgess at former club Peterborough. The powerful centre half signed a four year contract at the ABAX last summer but failed to establish himself in Cambridgeshire. He was part of the rearguard that saw Darren Ferguson’s departure against MK Dons in March. New boss Dave Robertson preferred the youthful exuberance of Ricardo Santos who he had worked with in the youth team. He will start a new life down south with a new team where he will be playing on a regular basis. His rugged style may be suited to the forth tier, and with another year of development ahead of him, he will hope to establish himself in Paul Cook’s line-up.
The only position that is yet to be filled by the new boss is left-fullback role. Jack Whatmough has the ability to play their, although it would be harsh of Cook to throw the youngster in at the deep end. It was the 18-year-olds breakthrough year last term and he will want to install himself as a regular centre back before venturing out wide.
With the squad that has been assembled it is difficult to see anything else other than promotion, if not the title. Matt Tubbs is a proven goalscorer, They have plenty of quality in midfield, and the defence has been much improved on following last years disaster. Cook has a proven track record at this level, and it shouldn’t take much for him to replicate his feats.