After two weeks sitting sixth in the League Two table, Pompey have been making reinforcements throughout the latter stages of the January transfer window.
In my blog at the start of the month; I suggested that a centre-back, right-back and a goalkeeper were necessary for our promotion push. Following the close of the transfer window; two of the three mentioned were signed with Ryan Fulton, a young shot-stopper, and Kieron Freeman, an attacking full-back, arriving at Fratton Park.
Fulton has already made two appearances for the Blues; showing signs of brilliance in both, although there has been no clean sheet for him just yet, although high-flyers Oxford United and Premier League newboys Bournemouth were always going to provide attacking threats.
The League Two clash with the U’s at Fratton Park saw the nineteen year-old make a string of saves after a total of nine shots were powered in his direction. The Fratton Faithful feared for the worst after the Liverpool-loanee gave away a penalty in the 50th minute, however he recovered superbly to make a remarkable double save, keeping the game at 0-0 for the time being.
Though a 1-0 defeat was the outcome after 90 minutes, it was a solid debut for Fulton.
As for the cup-tie against Bournemouth, his quality shone through again. This time it was the likes of Josh King and Lewis Grabban pounding shots in his direction.
Fulton tipped a Juan Manuel Iturbe effort onto the post; preventing him a dream debut for the Cherries, and kept out two others on target as well. While it wasn’t enough to secure the win, it was reassuring for fans to see such a commanding performance.
Kieron Freeman is yet to play for Paul Cook’s side after only putting pen to paper on Thursday and being cup-tied for the weekend’s game. The new number 17 is just an example of the group of players Portsmouth are attracting this season, signing from Sheffield United after turning out 22 times for them this season.
The League One side, who currently sit just outside of the play-offs, are also the club that current Portsmouth striker Marc McNulty is on loan from.
If his standards are anything to go by; with seven goals in all competitions since joining back in November, we should be in for a real treat with the signing of Freeman.
The 23 year-old can play either right-back or left-back, so it’ll be interesting to see where Cook fits him in. The current full-backs; Ben Davies and Enda Stevens, have both made 25 appearances for Portsmouth since August (with only Kyle Bennett playing more) so it is unlikely Cook will look to replace either of them.
Both have arguably been the best two players in a Blues shirt all season, however with Freeman possessing Championship and League One experience in recent years, it will be hard to leave him on the bench.
Therefore; it is clear that Cook has been on the hunt for those players that can give Pompey a real lift during the club’s promotion push in the second-half of the season, by bringing in those with experience from a higher level.
It certainly won’t be a hindrance in this campaign. It is simply a case of ‘time will tell’ now as we see what these signings can do and where they can take us in the forthcoming months.