By Jim Bonner
Updated Tuesday, 17th September 2013
Why do Pompey lack discipline?
The season is still young and yet Pompey have already got three red cards to their name and all of them should have been prevented.
Those red cards have probably cost the team points, too. Ertl's dismissal on opening day saw Oxford take the initiative and give Pompey a thumping whilst David Connolly's exit saw a stubborn Blues resistance eventually broken by Chesterfield and a man of his quality was sorely missed at Cheltenham the following week when so many chances were wasted by the visitors.
Yassin Moutaouakil may not be missed as much as Connolly and Ertl with Danny East and Shaun Cooper able to replace him at right back but there is a case to be made that Pompey's indiscipline has cost them precious points and will continue to do so until the problem is solved. But why is it happening?
Some fans have pointed the finger at Guy Whittingham for allowing his players to be sent off under his tenure and they could point to incidents last season such as Sam Sodje's kick to the balls of the Oldham player to get himself sent off.
But what can he realistically do apart from tell his players not to be stupid and lash out at petulent challenges? Perhaps he could introduce harsher fines for his players when they get booked? It'd help pay the fine if/when Pompey get the required number of cards to incur the wrath of the FA, but the players really should know better.
In Connolly and Ertl's case, perhaps they are letting the physical nature of League Two get to them? They are used to playing at a higher level of football and slumming it in the bottom division of English football where players are more likely to foul them and the referees are more likely to make mistakes (such as with Connolly in the Chesterfield game) sees frustration build to boiling point?
It's a poor defence but I am struggling to think why else players of their experience would get themselves needlessly sent off. The same can't be said for Moutaouakil who is a hot head in general (he was lucky not to be sent off against Stevenage last season) and needs to cool down.
Or perhaps it is the management's fault that they can't control their players after all given the amount of cards that Whittingham's Portsmouth team have collected under his tenure? Whatever the reason is, Guy and his team need to figure out why his team lacks discipline before the issue hits the club hard both on and off the pitch.