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Fixture News

No Dilemma For Jackett

Boss looks ahead to Southend test

16 November 2017

Pompey manager Kenny Jackett

It could provide a selection headache for some managers.

But Kenny Jackett welcomes the availability of Stuart O’Keefe and Nathan Thompson for Saturday’s clash with Southend at Fratton Park.

The duo were both suspended for last weekend’s dramatic victory over Blackpool that ended a run of three successive league losses.

And now Jackett must decide if he should stick with a winning team or allow a couple of first team regulars to make an instant return.

The Blues boss said: “Whether I choose to put them straight back into the team not, I don’t see it as a dilemma.

“Being able to add Nathan and Stuart to my group is excellent with the games that we have lying ahead.

"You aspire towards your best 11 and sticking with that, but the reality is you have to change things somewhere along the way."

Kenny Jackett

“We’ve got Southend on Saturday, then we’re going to Peterborough in midweek and have Plymouth here on the following weekend.

“The one certainty is that the side that starts against Southend won’t be the same one that finishes against Plymouth.

“To have those two back and available for these three upcoming games is something that’s very good for me and the team.

“You aspire towards your best 11 and sticking with that, but the reality is you have to change things somewhere along the way.

“Whether that’s because of suspensions – as was the case at Blackpool – or injuries or even form, you have to react.

“Substitutions are also key because the last half-hour of matches are vital periods and you need people who can score goals or provide energy.”

Pompey face a Southend outfit who are currently only below them in the League One table on goal difference.

Jackett said: “They had a good go at getting into the play-offs last season and were close to doing it, so I’m sure they’ll have similar aspirations again.

“Southend have an experienced manager and players, so it will be tough, but there are nine points up for grabs in the next week and we want to take as many as we can.

“There are different hurdles to clear in this division and we want to be able to match any opponent we face.”

Pompey will still be without Milan Lalkovic, who is suffering with the Achilles injury that has kept him out for much of the campaign to date.

Jackett said: “He’s not available which is frustrating for him and us – and it sums up his season so far.

“It’s been more stop than start. We just have to see whether it can be cured by time and treatment or if an operation is needed.

“We’ve got a good amount of players fit now, though, and Jack Whatmough is the only one in the treatment room, as the two left-backs are currently with their parent clubs.”

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