A Back Five Crisis?

Last updated : 27 August 2013 By Jim Bonner

Nine goals conceded in five games. It's not a great statistic by any means and some Pompey fans have been quick to point the finger of blame.

Football fans are fickle and those of Portsmouth persuasion have a knack of being particularly quick when it comes to judging a player. It's amusing to see fans call for yet another goalkeeper to be signed so early into the season.

Phil Smith has played four games and John Sullivan has played just one and yet that's enough for some people to brand both goalkeepers as "shit" whilst suggesting ludicrous alternatives to fix the problem when the club has no money to spend on players.

Sure, Smith hasn't exactly covered himself in glory since he took over from Sullivan who was completely let down by his defence against Oxford. But Smith has proved a capable goalkeeper in the past with Swindon and was outstanding at Bournemouth.

Like the man he replaced, Smith has been let down by the back four in front of him but they are going to need more than just a few games to form a solid defensive unit and get used to playing alongside each other.

Having a settled defence helps but due to injury and some tinkering by the manager there has been no consistency across the back four. That problem has now worsened with Marcos Painter's injury ruling him out for the next few games so it'll be time for Dan Butler or Danny East to step up.

Whittingham needs to find a settled defence that can work well together and iron out the collective mistakes they keep making. If Devera and Bradley are the first choice centre halves, they shouldn't be split apart and a decision needs to be made on who owns the right back position for the long term.

Whatever the decisions, our fans need to be patient and not expect too much or judge our players too quickly. You can't expect a Phoenix if you offer chickenfeed so unless a super-ultra-mega benefactor buys the club then Pompey are going to be in the market for free agents for a while, and it would be stupid to expect too much of them so soon.

Give our back five time to impress and work together and then if the mistakes still occur after Christmas, then it's time to start giving them abuse!