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In opposition : Portsmouth - ones to watch

20 August 2021

Portsmouth returns more than 70% of its scoring threat from last season, including top goal scorers John Marquis (17) and Ronan Curtis (12).

Also back is Marcus Harness who scored eight goal and has already opened up his scoring account for 2021/22. However, Harness remains uncertain for Saturday’s game after a quad injury suffered in Portsmouth's midweek fixture against Shrewsbury Town.

As well as scoring goals, Pompey have so far been very good at keeping them out. Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu has collected two clean sheets in two appearances since arriving to Fratton Park.

 

Gavin Bazunu 

Goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu arrived in Portsmouth on loan from parent club Manchester City in July. The Republic of Ireland international was named to Man City’s squad for the second leg of the Round of 16 UEFA Champions League matchup against Real Madrid last season, but he would fail to appear off the bench in the contest.

He would later be loaned to Rochdale for the remainder of the season. In total the man from Dublin made 32 appearances between the posts for Rochdale, while making his first senior appearance for the Republic of Ireland National Team as part of a 2022 World Cup qualifying match against Luxembourg in March. In two games Bazunu has kept a pair of clean sheets for Portsmouth.

 

Ronan Curtis

Ronan Curtis is another in what is becoming a healthy list of Republic of Ireland international players donning the badge for Portsmouth. The godson of former Wales National Team manager Chris Coleman, Curtis is used primarily as a left-winger for Pompey. Since joining the club in 2018, the EFL Trophy winner has been first or second in goals scored across the previous three seasons and has appeared in more than 120 matches.

Last season, Curtis registered 12 goals in all competitions, while collecting 10 goals in Sky Bet League One. He also produced a team-high nine assists, while maintaining a 0.56 goals + assists per game average.

 

Kieron Freeman

A man that has seen action with eight clubs in his time as a professional footballer, Kieron Freeman has steadily become a well-regarded right-back in League One. While beginning his professional career at Nottingham Forest, he was quickly loaned out to Mansfield Town (2011-12) and Notts County (2012). He would go on to play a total of three seasons for Notts, serving as a loan player from parent club Derby County in 2013 and 2014. He would go on to feature heavily for Sheffield United under former manager Chris Wilder, helping the club earn promotion to the EFL Championship in 2016. He was named in the 2016/17 PFA Team of the Year. Freeman arrived to Pompey in July 2021 from Swansea City, where he appeared in just one game. Since coming to Portsmouth, his defensive prowess has been unmatched. This season, the Welsh International footballer has amassed nine tackles won and a team-high seven interceptions. He received his first Wales senior debut in a friendly against Albania in November 2018, but has failed to feature again for the Welsh since that time.

 

John Marquis

A player well known to Rovers fans, John Marquis is a centre-forward with a propensity for scoring goals. The Lewisham native joined Portsmouth in July 2019 ending his spell with Rovers.

Previously, he served a loan spell in 2013 at Portsmouth from parent club Millwall. While at Doncaster during the 2016/17 slate, Marquis scored 26 goals and garnered the Golden Boot award for League Two. That same season, he was named as the League Two Player of the Season. In addition to being named in the League Two PFA Team of the Year. He scored more than 60 goals for Rovers across his three seasons.

In 2020/21, Marquis led Pompey with 17 goals in all competitions, allowing him to finish amongst the top 10 goal scorers in League One on the campaign. Coming into the weekend against his old club, Marquis has played in 77 games for Pompey and scored 25 goals. Marquis got off the mark in a 2-0 win over Crewe when a second half shot that found its way in off the inside-post.

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