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Fixture News

Jackett: Squad Needs To Work As One

Boss looks ahead to Tranmere test

8 August 2019

Kenny Jackett
Photo: Robin Jones

Kenny Jackett has some selection headaches ahead of Pompey’s opening home league match of the season.

Tranmere visit the south coast on Saturday, with both sides looking to bounce back from opening day defeats.

But the hosts enjoyed a comfortable Carabao Cup victory over Birmingham during the week, with Ellis Harrison, Ben Close and Andy Cannon all impressing after coming into the team.

And now Jackett must decide whether to stick or twist, as he tries to plot a path to success this season.

The Blues boss said: “We needed the game on Tuesday because we weren’t at our best against Shrewsbury, although we were unlucky to lose.

“It gave us the opportunity to show everyone the new dynamics of the team and what we’re working towards.

“Hopefully that will help us as we build to what’s a really big game for us now against Tranmere at Fratton Park.

"We’ve got players back and the group needs to work as one, with everyone getting behind the guys that do play."

Kenny Jackett

“Squad planning is for 10 months and not just one game because you need a strong bench if you want to win promotion, which is obviously our objective.

“Ross McCrorie is in contention following his ban – and it was better that he missed a cup match – while we also have John Marquis available after his partner gave birth on the day of the game.

“So we’ve got players back and the group needs to work as one, with everyone getting behind the guys that do play.

“We’re certainly looking to get everything right on the day and collect those first three points of the season.”

Pompey face a Tranmere outfit who are back in the third tier after securing successive promotions.

Jackett said: “They’re a newly-promoted side and will have some momentum after an excellent season, which came just after they got up from the National League.

“Great progress has been made under Micky Mellon and they’ll now be looking to make their mark in this division.

“They’ve added to their squad and I believe they’ve added well, with some shrewd moves in the transfer market.”

James Bolton is closing in on a return, although unlikely to feature against Rovers, while fellow right-back Nathan Thompson has been back training with Pompey.

Jackett explained: “I don’t think James will quite make this Saturday – I would rate him as doubtful. But I think he’ll be okay for Sunderland the following week.

“We’re pleased to help Nathan out as he seeks a new venture because he hasn’t had much training. He’s a terrific lad and we’re pleased to assist when it suits both parties.”

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