It’s been an erratic start to the season for Portsmouth and Danny Cowley, as he seeks to implement his footballing philosophy in PO4.

Through 11 games, Pompey have collected 15 points and sit 11th in League One. Following an off-season of substantial transition, the Blues are still finding their way with a new-look side.

Cowley’s not had it all his own way. Long-term injuries and poor performances have dictated system changes during the early part of the season as he sought to end an eventual 32-day run without a win. With January looming, here are three orders of business that Pompey need to address.

Defensive reinforcements

Since the August curtain-raiser, three defensive recruits have headed to the treatment table. New skipper Clark Robertson is expected to be out until December, Connor Ogilvie’s return from a quad injury has been delayed on a weekly basis, while Liam Vincent’s fitness also remains a mystery.

This has forced Kieron Freeman and Shaun Williams to step in as two of the back three; but to the tune of eight goals conceded in four games prior to the Sunderland game – it’s a problem area. Natural centre-back depth at the club has been questioned, and with Paul Downing seemingly not trusted to step up, they may need to bolster their numbers.

High wages, low impact

Pompey have a number of high-earners at the club currently frequenting the bench. Per CEO Andy Cullen, two-thirds of the club’s budget is tied up in one-third of the squad, names such as Michael Jacobs and Ellis Harrison apply. While their contracts are both up in 2022, if Cowley and co. harbour ambitions of a late play-off run, they may need to offload these large chunks of dead wage sooner rather than later.

Forward firepower

A quarter of the season down, and John Marquis is the only Pompey forward to have found the net. Harrison and George Hirst both sit at zero in the league, while Marquis himself had one in ten prior to his brace last Saturday.

Between the three front men, 1,015 minutes have been played, yielding just three goals and three assists. Five of that overall figure has been contributed to by Marquis, three coming in one game. The 4-0 victory over Sunderland aside, Pompey were averaging one goal per game, and such profligacy will need to change.