Not Good Enough?

When Pompey fans get together and discuss why Pompey have performed so badly so far this season, a number of reasons arise.

One of them is that the players and management simply aren't focused with everything that is going on off the pitch. The ownership saga continues to rumble on, boring more and more fans by the day so much so they don't seem to care what happens now.

However, that excuse can't really be said for the players who should be playing for a new contract, whether that continues to be with Pompey or elsewhere.

The most common phrase in the pub and messageboard discussions seems to be "What did you expect?" followed by something along the lines of "We had to sign a bunch of rejects that nobody else wanted so they aren't going to be any good."

But is that entirely true?

Most fans will agree that a few of our players are "rejects" that Michael Appleton has rescued from obscurity and not much can be expected from the likes of Jon Harley and Jack Compton who were unwanted in the summer.

However, Brian Howard and Mustapha Dumbuya are clearly good enough to play at a higher level whilst Lee Williamson was voted as the best midfielder in League One for Sheffield United last season.

It's slightly baffling why they would reject deals with former clubs to come and play for Portsmouth. Perhaps the lure of representing one of the biggest clubs in the division is the reason, but I suspect that the moves south are financially motivated.

Darel Russell has won promotion from the third tier twice and so must have something at this level of football. Gabor Gyepes and Johnny Ertl have plenty of experience at a higher level of football whilst Izale McLeod was the top scorer in League Two for struggling Barnet last season, and thus should be able to make the step up.

Fans of other League One clubs have expressed their envy of Pompey's small, but supposedly talented squad. These players should be doing better, especially those who were at the club during pre-season and have had plenty of time to learn how to play together.

Therefore, the notion that Pompey's players simply aren't good enough in terms of ability should be rejected. The problem is down to the attitude of the players and the manager's tactics.

If everyone could display the same sort of endeavour that (the now unfortunately injured) Luke Rodgers does then we would be halfway towards seeing a winning team at Fratton Park again.

How Michael Appleton decides how his team should play, on the other hand, is a matter that won't be resolved so easily.