Jackett gives verdict as Portsmouth face fixture pile-up

Pompey have the squad to sustain a frenetic fixture pile-up.

Friday, 11th January 2019, 2:03 pm
Updated Friday, 11th January 2019, 3:08 pm
Stoke City's new manager Nathan Jones after his Luton exit. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

Kenny Jackett believes the Blues can withstand the continuing intensity of their schedule.

The success of Jackett's men sees them vying for success in three competitions as the campaign gathers pace.

With League One, FA Cup and Checkatrade Trophy clashes peppering the calendar, Pompey could face a potential run of eight games in 29 days.

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Stoke City's new manager Nathan Jones after his Luton exit. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire

That's coming off the back of a busy Christmas period, which saw four fixtures played in 10 days.

While fans are enjoying the success their side have delivered this term, there are concerns about the impact two knockout runs could have on the bid to reach the Championship.

Jackett believes the players are fit enough to handle games coming thick and fast.

And the Pompey boss feels maintaining a feel-good factor around the squad is a key factor in achieving that.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett said: '˜I do think we can (sustain it). We hope it doesn't let up.

'˜We want to make sure we get it physically right with the players.

'˜But also we have to get it mentally right.

'˜You can't tell players that they are tired because they will be tired.

'˜We're in a good position - one we want to capitalise on.

'˜There's a good feeling around our training ground.

'˜I want our player to enjoy coming in.

'˜I want them to work hard but enjoy training.

'˜I want there to be a good balance of determination and spirit. That's important.

'˜Then whatever physical capabilities you have you will have a chance of maximising as a player.'

Jackett gave an insight into his approach for handling the battle for success on three fronts.

The Pompey boss has opted to field first-choice line-ups in each of his side's three FA Cup games to date.

Checkatrade Trophy fixtures, however, have been the cue for wholesale changes - as was seen this week as 10 switches were made from the Norwich game in the 2-0 win at Southend.

Jackett added: '˜If you look at the cup competitions, we were out early in the Carabao Cup, but have then been successful in three competitions.

'˜We've managed to make wholesale changes for the Checkatrade and still get ourselves in winning positions.

'˜The FA Cup games come on a weekend and it does feel to me the players should play in that circumstance.

'˜Last weekend, we had the full side out and what I consider the best side available.

'˜Then we changed all bar one which was Gareth (Evans). I wanted to play him again, because I thought it was the right thing to do.

'˜There's a slight overlap but some clarity in those situations.

'˜For the majority of players there's a full week between Norwich and Blackpool, so, unless you have an injury or personal problem, you should be recovered.'