Jackett: Pompey squad is overloaded

Gary Roberts. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841-4464)
Gary Roberts. Picture: Sarah Standing (170841-4464)
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett not worried by Pompey’s defensive lapses

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Kenny Jackett believes his Pompey squad is too bloated as he sets about trimming his options.

The careers of Gary Roberts and Michael Smith at Fratton Park appear to be over after they were left out of the squad for Saturday’s 2-1 pre-season loss to Bournemouth.

Both players have been deemed surplus to requirements by Jackett and can leave the Blues.

Carl Baker, who started in central midfield on Saturday, continues to attract the attentions of his former side Coventry City.

Clubs are showing interest in Pompey’s players but no firm bids have been received.

Jackett has cited a 24-man squad as his optimum number to operate with in League One this season.

Pompey currently have 28 players in the first-team set-up following the arrival of four new faces this summer.

Roberts made reference to being left in the cold on social media ahead of the Bournemouth clash.

Jackett outlined he has no problem with the 33-year-old, however, and he will continue to train with the first team along with Smith.

He said: ‘Gary and Michael are fully fit but weren’t selected.

‘I’m sure it’s tongue-in-cheek and Gary’s humour (the tweets) but it’s going to be very difficult to distribute those games around and give everyone opportunities.

‘Gary trained with the first team every day last week except Friday.

‘That was when we were working on team shape and organisation for the game.

‘He wasn’t involved in the game on Saturday, so he wasn’t involved.

‘So he was with the first team up until Friday and then training separately as we prepared for Bournemouth.

‘There are too many players for the front four positions.

‘At the moment, though, Gary and Michael are the ones missing out.

‘I have had several calls because it’s a big squad here and people are asking who’s not playing and where are they in the plans?

‘They are general enquiries, yes. But offers or bids? No.’

Of Pompey’s current squad of 28, nine of those players are aged 20 or under.

Jackett can reduce those numbers by selling or sending some of the youngsters out on loan.

He said: ‘In an ideal world I want two players for every position to make 22.

‘Then I’d like a third goalkeeper and a spare forward, if you like, because that position is so important. So you’re looking at a squad of 24.

‘Out of those 24, if a lot can be homegrown and come through your youth policy, then great. That’s what you’re aiming for.

‘If it was a squad of 24 who’d all been brought in there’d be too many rumblings and that can affect team spirit.

‘But if they are young players constantly improving and have the hunger to be there, that’s the ideal for any club – and the ideal for me.’