John Mousinho is considering a potential change in position for Jack Sparkes, who has been delivering impressive results as a dead-ball specialist, contributing four assists in his last six appearances for Pompey. Sparkes has solidified his role as a crucial player for the team, even holding off competition from the returning Connor Ogilvie to maintain his position as the left-back during the recent match against Carlisle. However, accommodating both Sparkes and Ogilvie in the starting lineup for the upcoming game against Cambridge United seems challenging.
Nonetheless, the head coach of the Blues is open to the idea of moving Sparkes to a left-wing role. Sparkes has already started in that position against Stevenage in August and made brief appearances as a substitute in the left-wing role in games against Peterborough, Exeter, and Cheltenham.
Mousinho believes that Sparkes, as a summer signing, can excel in this new role.
Mousinho explained, “Anthony (Scully) began the season on the left wing, and Abu has performed well when given the chance. We’ve even tried Jack in that position. I value players with versatility who can play multiple positions, and these days, many attributes of a left-back translate well to other positions. We want players with an attacking mindset who can contribute offensively. I believe Jack can succeed on the left wing. Although his performance wasn’t exceptional when we first tried him there against Stevenage, it was a tough game, and the team wasn’t performing as strongly as of late. However, his confidence has improved, and if we were to play him in left midfield now, he would do a great job there as well.”
Connor Ogilvie has been the primary left-back for Pompey for more than two years but has only managed one assist since his two assists in a match against Crewe in March 2022. His most recent assist occurred in a game against Shrewsbury in April when he headed the ball to Marlon Pack for a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw. Mousinho acknowledges Ogilvie’s versatility, stating that he can fit in well anywhere due to his excellent skills.
‘His attributes are far more suited to being a left-back – and he is such a wonderful consistent left-back that I believe it’s the ideal position for him.
‘Jack is inherently more attacking, which is why we’ve seen him come off the bench on the left side of midfield at times. He’s a natural match to go and play there.’