Pompey boss mulls over solution to away-day failings

Kenny Jackett on the touchline at Doncaster Rovers
Kenny Jackett on the touchline at Doncaster Rovers
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Pompey and their support had trekked 991 miles within four days to witness two defeats.

In the process, five goals were conceded, with one scored from their five attempts on target and only six corners registered.

With Doncaster, I didn’t think it was a real powerhouse of a team playing against us, but Blackburn on the day just had too much

Kenny Jackett

A desperately-disappointing return away from Fratton Park for a team which had tantalisingly hinted at finally obtaining consistency.

For Kenny Jackett, the Doncaster outcome was a graver concern than Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Blackburn.

Nonetheless, he puts defensive fragility on the Blues’ travels as being key components in what is now five defeats in eight league away fixtures.

And Pompey’s boss will be striving to repair the battered rearguard unit.

He said: ‘In the two games we’ve lost away from home we have conceded goals to give us a mountain to climb and that is disappointing.

‘We have good defenders at the club, and a goalkeeper capable as well, but if you give Blackburn the opportunities, if you give them the ball in the wrong areas for us and right areas for them, then they can punish you.

‘In terms of eight days, a good win against MK Dons, then too many goals conceded on the road when we need to be more solid and staying in the game, which is important.

‘The real disappointment, though, was the Doncaster one.

‘No disrespect to them, but I felt there was a winnable game and by the end didn’t think we were necessarily beaten by a very good team.

‘With Doncaster, I didn’t think it was a real powerhouse of a team playing against us, but Blackburn on the day just had too much.

‘At Blackburn, I think you can catch them on their day and if they get their squad fit they are very good. We want to be beating Blackburn, we want to be competing with them, but they were a good side on Saturday.

‘We’ve had good wins away from home, but the majority of our points have been at home.

‘Giving away five goals in two games is too many and doesn’t give us a chance. We must give ourselves a platform to make sure we don’t need to do too much going forward instead of having mountains to climb when we have conceded goals.’

Of course, Pompey’s problems in the previous two away games have not been merely restricted to the defence.

As an attacking force they have barely tested the opposition keeper, with Kyle Bennett’s first-half attempt the only realistic effort mustered at Ewood Park.

And Jackett also recognises that weakness.

He added: ‘At Blackburn it was hard for us to carve out any real chances.

‘Our wingers, who have been very, very good for us so far this season, were going up to their full-backs and turning back, which is not necessarily taking them on.

‘As an attacking force, I don’t think either our number nine or 10 could get away or get the shots in.

‘We had combinations of Hawkins, Bennett, Chaplin or Pitman, but couldn’t get the ball to them or for them to really beat their men to make a good impression.’