Jackett: Pompey will probably be promoted if we finish above Wigan

Pompey and Wigan fought out a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey and Wigan fought out a 1-1 draw on Saturday. Picture: Joe Pepler
Dion Donohue. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett explains role for Pompey recruit

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It was arguably the toughest away-day fixture Pompey will face this season.

The Blues’ trip to Wigan was one point gained rather than two dropped – with boss Kenny Jackett believing the DW Stadium outfit are frontrunners to bask in League One promotion glory come May.

The Latics boasted an unblemished record in the third tier this campaign prior to Pompey’s visit.

Wigan boss Paul Cook had stewarded his troops to comprehensive victories against MK Dons, Bury and Blackpool as they sat at the summit of the table.

A fourth successive league victory looked on the cards for Cook against the club he controversially left in May for the majority of the contest.

The hosts took an early advantage through Ivan Toney’s eighth-minute strike after Pompey’s defence was carved open.

The hosts could well have put the game beyond reach before the interval but missed a series of chances.

Conor Chaplin rescued Pompey a point in the 76th-minute header and ensured Wigan dropped points for the first time this term.

The result pleased Blues Jackett and believes if his side finish ahead of Wigan in the league, they will be almost guaranteed Championship football next season.

He said: ‘I’ve managed quite a number of their players in the past and I am aware of their capabilities.

‘They have a strong squad, especially when you look at the likes of Will Grigg coming off the bench.

‘They changed their entire team in the League Cup against Aston Villa – they didn’t play anyone who played in Saturday’s team -– and gave a good account of themselves.

‘It was a good point for us and we’re the first team to take points off them this season.

‘We know they set the bar and benchmark for the division.

‘The quality of their play did not surprise me because they have both power and ability.

‘They have strength in every position and it is something we want to aspire to be like

‘If you finish above Wigan this season, you are probably going to be automatically promoted.’

Luke McGee was signed from Spurs last month to replace stalwart David Forde between the posts.

The 21-year-old produced a sumptuous performance at the DW Stadium.

McGee made top-draw saves from Toney, Nick Powell and Lee Evans either side of the restart.

Meanwhile, Gareth Evans was sent off for two bookable offences, while Chey Dunkley also was dismissed after swiping an arm at Brett Pitman.

Jackett waxed lyrical about McGee while he had no complaints regarding Evans’ sending off.

‘Luke has a lot of potential and was our man of the match,’ the Pompey boss added.

‘He made some great saves and kept us in the game.

‘Red cards a feature of our games so far. They have been exciting games and there could have been more – the first tackle on May at Walsall.

‘I can’t complain against Gareth’s red card. I thought he would book him for the second challenge.’