Pompey boss delivers verdict on warm-up games
KENNY JACKETT has expressed his pleasure at Pompey's pre-season plans.
The Blues boss is happy with how his side will prepare for their bid to reach the Championship next season.
All but one of the warm-up games have now been confirmed for Jackett’s second term at the helm.
Pompey return from their break on June 27 to begin their work for the big kick-off on August 4.
The team travel to Ireland on July 1, before facing League of Ireland side Cork City the following day.
They then return to England before beginning their programme of games against local sides, with a trip to face the Hawks at Westleigh Park booked in for July 7.
A rare trip to Dover Road to take on Southern League outfit Moneyfields follows on July 10, before Stevenage provide the first league opposition at Broadhall Way on July 14.
Away meetings with Gosport (July 17) and Bognor (July 24) take place either side of a visit to the County Ground to take on Swindon on July 21.
The opposition for the final game at Fratton Park on July 28 has yet to be confirmed.
But Jackett believes the schedule fulfils the obligations Pompey have to local sides, while offering a decent run of games to test his players before the competitive action gets under way.
Jackett said: ‘We’ve got a gap, but it does seem as if we‘re there or thereabouts.
‘We’re looking for a big game the week before the season starts at home.
‘We’ll see who’s available but we have most things in place now we need.
‘We mainly have games on Tuesday and Saturday.
‘The Saturday games will be mainly first team. I’ll try to get as close as I can quickly. That’s my aim, but we’ll see how the next few weeks go.
‘The Tuesday games gives us some flexibility then to play whichever side we need.
‘We want to keep encouraging playing local teams, but we can’t play everyone.
‘We can’t play everyone otherwise we’d have a whole pre-season of non-league teams. That’s not right.
‘We do want to encourage playing non-league teams, and we do want to spread it around as much as we can.
‘I give my apologies that we can’t play everyone every year.
‘It’s something we’re mindful of and, myself as a manager, we want to continue. But we’re pleased with what we’ve got.’
The Blues return to Ireland for the first time since Paul Cook took the first-team squad across the Irish Sea ahead of the League Two title-winning campaign.
This time, however, they will not be based in Dublin – instead located in Cork’s Fota Island resort.
Jackett added: ‘I’ve got mixed feelings sometimes on the pre-season tours.
‘You can have good ones or bad ones.
‘But we’re confident of this one and going to Ireland is very good.
‘I know the facilities and have been there before.
‘Obviously the site is good for training and it’s a good place for the players to get together at the start of the season.’