Jackett: Irish destination perfect for Pompey
THE Emerald Isle has been confirmed as Pompey's pre-season destination.
And for Kenny Jackett it’s a familiar environment he is convinced can provide a crucial launchpad to the 2018-19 campaign ahead.
The Blues will relocate to the Republic of Ireland from July 1-6 as part of pre-season preparations.
To be based outside Cork, it represents a return to an area the Blues boss previously encountered with Wolves in the summer of 2016.
That trip also yielded a friendly with Cork City – coincidentally Pompey’s opposition on Monday, July 2 (7pm).
Jackett’s men are also booked in to play the Hawks (Saturday, July 7) upon their return.
Before that, however, the Blues manager is looking forward to a productive Irish stay.
He said: ‘We didn’t go away last year, but I think doing so is good for getting players together, good for spirit and good to generate focus before the start of the season.
‘Ireland is a realistic one for where we are as a club and what we have to spend. You can reduce travelling time, it’s a good climate and our supporters can get over there reasonably easily as well.
‘It has a lot going for it and is somewhere I have been to on quite a regular basis.
‘Although we have been to different places in Ireland, they are areas we know and are fairly low risk in terms of making sure they go well.
‘For a manager, you don’t want it to appear disorganised to players, in particular at the start of the season.
‘Sometimes when you do take a chance on tour it can take a little bit of time to recover.
‘We could have gone out there without a game, but I feel if we can play it’s better as part of the week’s training.
‘We’ll meet Cork during the course of their season so I don’t know what strength of side they will put out, but we will certainly get a good game.
‘There is nothing worse than a poor pre-season tour, it has a reverse effect, but the people supplying the facilities are very open and accessible in terms of helping give you everything you need.’
Cork are the reigning Premier Division champions of the League of Ireland, yet are presently in second spot behind Dundalk.
They turn out at Turner’s Cross, a 7,365 all-seater stadium on the southside of the city.
The Rebel Army’s playing squad includes ex-Southampton, Reading and AFC Wimbledon defender Alan Bennett and former Exeter midfielder Jimmy Keohane.