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Fixture News

Play The Game, Not The Occasion

Jackett's message ahead of Checkatrade Trophy final

28 March 2019

Kenny Jackett
Photo: Joe Pepler/PinPep

Kenny Jackett is looking forward to the pomp and ceremony that typically accompanies a trip to Wembley.

But when referee Dean Whitestone blows the whistle to start the game on Sunday, there will only be one thing on his mind.

Pompey are facing League One promotion rivals Sunderland, as both sides look to lift the Checkatrade Trophy for the first time.

And Jackett wants to make sure that his players treat the 90 minutes of football as they would any other fixture.

The Blues boss said: “It’s not a normal game – it’s a one-off contest in a cup competition and it changes things slightly with such a big prize.

“But my job is to make sure we can just focus on the football. We have to concentrate and be at our best to win.

"You have to make sure your game head is on and focus on trying to win a football match."

Kenny Jackett

“It’s about separating the occasion from the game itself and making sure that we get our performance right.

“Yes, it’s a fantastic feeling to walk out at Wembley and something I’ve been privileged enough to do before – I’m looking forward to that side of things on Sunday.

“After that, though, you have to make sure your game head is on and focus on trying to win a football match.

“I have to do the best for my players in terms of how things are handled tactically and getting the substitutions and encouragement correct.”

Ronan Curtis could be available after returning to training following a serious finger injury, but supporters should not expect many changes.

Jackett explained: “We’ve been on quite a good run of form and it’s certainly not unique to want to be consistent with your team selection.”

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