Pompey boss to again shackle substitutes at Newport

Monday, 17th July 2017, 3:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:48 am
Kenny Jackett, left, with Joe Gallen Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues head off to the Isle of Wight (7pm) for a rare encounter with non-leaguers Newport tomorrow night.

The Wessex League premier division outfit last staged Pompey in August 2007, when Harry Redknapp’s visitors ran out 7-0 winners.

Tomorrow evening’s occasion is labelled as a Pompey XI fixture, although Jackett will employ a strong side as he seeks to get minutes into those who did not feature at Bognor.

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In that 2-0 Nyewood Lane win, the Blues boss elected not to utilise any of his subs, ensuring those on the pitch completed 90 minutes for the first time this pre-season.

He plans a similar approach at St George’s Park, with the likes of Kal Naismith, Jamal Lowe, Jack Whatmough, Milan Lalkovic, Alex Bass, Ben Close and Curtis Main expected to start.

And Jackett’s intention remains to hand them a full match outing, rather than tinker with substitutions.

He said: ‘The players were given 90 minutes on Saturday and it was the same at Poole in the match earlier.

‘It will again be 90 minutes tomorrow night – and then we’ll look at the make-up of the Bournemouth and Crawley games.

‘Pre-season has been good, I’ve enjoyed it and it is continuing to progress well.

‘I’ve enjoyed working with the players, building the squad and making sure we are ready for the key period of August/September, where so much of your season is dictated.

‘July is about getting ready for them, not just 11 players but the whole group, making the sure it is efficient and they know their job.

‘You need to pick up wins through August and September because it’s tough to recover if you have a bad time there.

‘Similarly, if you do well in that period you can build on that and thrive on the confidence it brings.’

The Blues have now fulfilled four friendlies, of which Poole was classed as a Pompey XI outing.

Tomorrow night represents their final non-league opponents, before cranking up the standard in the form of Bournemouth and Crawley.

Certainly, Jackett’s selection preferences have become clearer as the summer schedule has progressed, with the bulk of the side which faced the Rocks likely to start the League One opener against Rochdale.

Although the likes of Naismith, Close, Lowe and Whatmough, in particular, can still find a way into Jackett’s team and have the opportunity to impress at Newport.

Jackett is also hopeful Gary Roberts will feature after a back problem sidelined the attacking midfielder at the weekend.

Regardless, the scrutiny of potential first-teamers continues.

Jackett added: ‘We also have a game tucked in, which is an under-19 match at Brighton – and we may play some of the squad players.

‘It will take place on July 25 and I think it’s behind closed doors, so there are plenty of minutes and game time available for the squad to make sure they are ready.’