Jackett: Cruel blow won’t derail Dennis’ Portsmouth progress
Louis Dennis’ long-awaited chance has finally arrived.
Yet following a recent first-team breakthrough, a knee problem threatens to cruelly sideline him from FA Cup duty.
Dennis was handed his Football League debut in last weekend’s trip to Oxford United, arriving off the bench in the 59th minute.
Within five minutes he had supplied the cross from the right which was met with a spectacular overhead kick from Brett Pitman in the 2-1 loss.
On Tuesday night, Kenny Jackett sought to protect the attacking midfielder by naming him on the bench against Peterborough in the Checkatrade Trophy.
Yet, upon entering with 30 minutes remaining, Dennis collected a knee injury which could rule him out of Saturday’s cup clash with QPR.
With Jamal Lowe suspended and Pompey short of attacking options, it represents awful luck for the summer recruit from Bromley.
Jackett said: ‘Louis picked it up (knee injury) on Tuesday and had been on the bench for that reason, that’s just how it works sometimes.
‘I have been fortunate during the first half of the season that in and around those competitions I’ve been able to dovetail to good effect, getting results and experience.
‘Louis is a good player and is going to get his chance. I’ve said to him before, if I thought he wasn’t up to it I would be moving him out in January. I don’t think that, I want him here.
‘He has signed a two-year contract, is a quarter of the way through it, and all that’s happened in the first half of the season is he hasn’t had a chance yet. That has been through circumstance, not anything he has done.
‘He shows every day in training that he’s a good player. As – and when – he does get his opportunity, I think he has a really good chance of taking it, he has the ability to do so.
‘His chance was always going to come at some stage – and I have confidence that, when I need to use him, he has the ability to do it.’
Dennis has made just six first-team appearances for the Blues following his arrival from non-league.
Yet he has continued to shine during Checkatrade Trophy outings – and Jackett senses the midfielder’s belief has improved.
Pompey’s boss added: ‘Through his six months here, Louis has grown in confidence.
‘He has seen the likes of Ronan and Jamal, trained with them on a regular basis, and now has the belief that he can do it.
‘It’s one of those things that the side was settled so he didn’t get many chances – that will change.’