Jackett favouring training ground over Pompey midweek games

Pompey will focus on the training ground rather than commit to a busy schedule of summer friendlies.

Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 6:58 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th June 2017, 3:53 pm
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Ian Hargreaves

And Kenny Jackett is convinced his squad can reap the rewards from a streamlined pre-season programme.

Since replacing Paul Cook at the start of the month, the timeframe has been unkind for the new man at the helm to conjure up a summer tour.

Instead, Jackett has fine-tuned a fixture list put in place by his predecessor.

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He has removed all midweek first-team fixtures in favour of employing a Pompey XI side expected to contain youngsters and fringe players.

That alteration has been unpalatable for the Rocks, who have since pulled out of their arranged match.

Meanwhile, a Wednesday evening game at Sutton United has been scrapped.

A trip to Newport (IW) has now been added (July 18), representing the sole midweek fixture.

Elsewhere, the customary trip to the Hawks has been brought forward three weeks to Saturday, July 8.

Meanwhile, Cardiff yesterday cancelled a July 28 friendly, with the sides now due to meet in the Carabao Cup – swiftly replaced by Crawley (July 29).

For Jackett, though, the summer changes have been necessary as he stamps his brand on the squad he has inherited.

He said: ‘In terms of the games we were committed to, we were very keen to have matches at the weekends and then clear out most weeks to be able to coach and work with the players.

‘If it was the situation where I’d been here two or three years with the same group of players, maybe we would have gone for more games.

‘However, I have gone slightly towards more training time, making sure the weeks are mainly clear to get as much work on the training ground as we need.

‘There is no tour and it has been quite late in the day to put one together, we aren’t going away because there isn’t one existing.

‘On this particular occasion I also want less games to put in more work on the training ground. It’s as simple as that.’

Pompey return to training on Thursday, June 29.

Their pre-season fixtures kick off with a trip to Salisbury on Saturday, July 1, in a match which will consist of three 30-minute periods. The Blues have also lined up the Hawks (July 8), Eastleigh (July 15), Newport (July 18) and Bournemouth (July 22).

Now, following the cancellation of the Cardiff encounter, Crawley complete the schedule and will host Jackett’s troops on July 29 (3pm).

He added: ‘There is currently only one game with a Pompey XI, the rest of the matches we are committed to and will be first-team fixtures.

‘Salisbury is the first game and I doubt whether everybody will play the full 90 minutes, we’ll just have to see how long the players feature.

‘Unfortunately, the fixture list was organised by the previous regime and I have apologised over the Bognor match being changed. However, as I have said, having games from Monday to Friday is not necessarily what I want in this particular pre-season.’