Portsmouth’s EFL Trophy-winning captain Brett Pitman has revealed he is enjoying being back in the team and playing in his favoured number ten position.
Lifting silverware at Wembley capped an impressive resurgence for the thirty-one-year-old forward following his omission from five of the seven matchday squads in February.
Pitman was an unused substitute when Pompey won their semi-final and booked their EFL Trophy final presence at Bury. Four weeks later at Wembley, he held the cup aloft as Blues captain having featured for the entire one hundred and twenty minutes.
It was an eye-catching substitute appearance in Pompey’s defeat at Charlton at the beginning of March which led to his return to the team in his favoured number ten role, a move which has coincided with Kenny Jackett’s men winning four consecutive matches, including their Wembley victory over Sunderland.
Pitman told the Portsmouth News that it was hard work on the training ground that got him back in the first team reckoning. ‘When you are training well and working hard, it’s only a matter of time before you get a chance.
‘I had belief. I know what I can bring to the team and what I can bring to the squad. There was one of two ways I could go – and I went the hard-work way. Fortunately, I then had a chance to get back in.’
Pitman has scored twice in four matches since returning in the number ten role. It’s a position he relishes, pointing to an impressive Bournemouth goal-scoring record while operating behind a central striker. And he’s convinced it is his best and most effective position.
‘It’s nice to be back out playing, that’s also my favoured position, so I have enjoyed it.’
‘That is where I played for my whole career at Bournemouth.’
‘I operated behind Steve Fletcher, behind Callum Wilson, behind Lewis Grabban.’
‘When I moved to Portsmouth, I started the first few games behind Conor Chaplin and Kal Naismith. Then Hawks (Oli Hawkins) came in, and I was up front after that.’
‘I think I’m more effective in that role. I don’t mind playing up front, but if I had a preference, it would be where I’m playing at the moment.’
Pitman and Pompey will be looking maintain their good form and consolidate their League One playoff position, while also keeping their slim chances of automatic promotion alive, when they travel Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.
Pitman is a good player, 160 career league goals is a testament to that, but his form has dipped previously in his second season at clubs.
Jackett deserves credit, he seems to be managing the player well, and his return has been an important factor in an upturn in form for the South Coast club who frustratingly drew all the league games in February.
Pitman also deserves credit, he didn’t sulk when left out but came back fitter stronger and better offering an excellent example to the younger players in Jackett’s squad.
Portsmouth may miss out on automatic promotion, but if Pitman remains fit and hungry, then they will be a team to be feared in the Playoffs.