Clash highlights strikers who could have been

David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang has form a solid striking partnership since joining Pompey
David Connolly and Patrick Agyemang has form a solid striking partnership since joining Pompey

They were the men former boss Michael Appleton hoped would be firing Pompey into the Championship.

Tomorrow, they could well be sending the Blues another step closer to League Two.

Iain Hume and Billy Paynter were both in Appleton’s sights at the start of the season.

Hume was the mystery man Appleton believed could ‘rip up League One’, while Paynter was a wanted man as he left Leeds.

Balram Chainrai’s determination to see a promised £4.5m wage budget reduced to £1.5m killed any hope of those deals being completed, though.

The pair have hit 17 goals between them this season, with fellow forward Chris Brown grabbing nine strikes.

Pompey, meanwhile, will be sending a strike pairing into action tomorrow who have been showing their own qualities in recent games.

Patrick Agyemang’s partnership with David Connolly is really beginning to blossom off the back of a run of games together.

Connolly has four goals to his name from his past four outings, with Agyemang adding a single effort as well as a presence which has been key to Pompey’s play.

Caretaker boss Guy Whittingham knows a thing or two about strike partnerships – and likes what he sees from the pair.

He said: ‘I spoke to Pat after training yesterday and he said to me he hasn’t played that many games together for a long time.

‘He’s really enjoying it. People go on about the older age group but you just have to look after them.

‘It’s all about games. It doesn’t matter how well they do in training, it’s about performing in games.

‘Both David and Patrick know their bodies. They know when to rest or to work a bit harder in training.

‘As coaches and managers, we have to make sure the people on form are looked after.

‘I don’t think we’ve had it for six months of the season where the defenders can get the ball to the midfielders and it will stick.

‘Pat and David do that and that is something the players have appreciated.

‘David, with his movement, can get around the sides of people.

‘He’s played a lot of games now and is looking fit and sharp. They look assets.’

Doncaster boss Brian Flynn has a selection headache ahead of tomorrow’s clash as he has to choose who to use up front from Paynter, Brown and Hume.

Whittingham is wary of the threat of all three players, whoever the Donny boss opts to employ.

He said: ‘Brown and Paynter played the last game.

‘They are a handful and so is Hume. He never stops running and is a pest.

‘We are going to have to be like we were the other night and make sure we are on our toes against them. They will be giving us all sorts of problems, for sure.’