Portsmouth Boss John Mousinho has assessed his options following the injury to striker Colby Bishop, in an interview with The News.
Bishop would depart the field in Portsmouth’s Tuesday night League One clash with Burton Albion, with manager John Mousinho stating that the striker had suffered an ankle injury.
Portsmouth would go onto win the match 2-0 and although Bishop scored his 11th goal of the season in the first half, proved that they can find goals from elsewhere. The results sees the South-Coast side go second in League One, and now joint on points with table-toppers Bolton Wanderers.
The absence of Bishop may prove pivotal in the coming weeks, with the striker having started the previous 42 League One games. Although Mousinho will certainly miss Bishop, the manager has stated that Portsmouth do already have options within their ranks.
It is suspected that the 37-year-old will turn to youngster Christian Saydee and Australian international Kusini Yengi in the absence of their talisman. Yengi is yet to start for Pompey in League One but has already netted twice, whereas 21-year-old Saydee is still yet to find the back of the net in League One.
The pecking order is unknown at the minute and we’ll be given some pointers by the line-up that Mousinho chooses for Saturday’s League One visit to Northampton.
Speaking to The News about Bishop’s injury after their victory on Tuesday night, Mousinho said:
‘We’re going to have to find a way to score without Colby.
“In the second half at Burton, we showed we could. We managed to score without Colby, we managed to create without him as well – and make sure we get bodies into the box and keep creating chances for as many players as possible.”
It would be harsh to say that Portsmouth are over-reliant on Bishop, but his injury will certainly impact their ability to both create and convert chances. Nonetheless, the manager believe that he has suitable replacements in the ranks.
“We have two centre-forwards in the building who can both play there and have both done really well.
‘Kusini [Yengi] is a natural number nine, a different player to Colby, he stretches the game, he certainly has some attributes which set him apart from a lot of centre-forwards at this level.”
The versatility of Christian Semenya may also allow the manager to deploy different tactics with Mousinho stating that he can play either as the nine or the ten, as shown in their win over Burton.
‘Christian was playing well enough as the number 10 and we didn’t want to disrupt him there, while I thought it was a game which would really suit Kusini. As it turned out, the space opened up and Yengi was probably unlucky not to get his goal in the second half.
‘Christian has adapted really well in a different way to playing in a different slot. I thought he was really effective the other night.’
Both forwards will be expected to step up to fill the void in which Bishop’s absence leaves. The coming weeks will no doubt shape Portsmouth’s season and how they adapt could be the difference between automatic promotion or narrowly missing out.
It is well-known that Colby Bishop is one of the most lethal finishers in the third tier and Portsmouth could somewhat struggle without him. The injury comes at a bad time due to the busy Christmas fixture schedule, however no injury designation has been set yet with Mousinho hopeful that it is only a minor one.
Yengi and Semenya both have ideal opportunities to prove their worth now however, and good goalscoring form from both will be welcomed by the Fratton faithful.