Pompey boss takes no-nonsense approach to injuries

KENNY JACKETT dismissed concerns over Pompey's ongoing injury woes.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 7:00 pm
Adam May is the Blues only fit senior midfielder at present

The Blues have a number of fitness worries going into this weekend’s visit of high-flying Scunthorpe to Fratton Park.

Midfielder Stuart O’Keefe is looking at a minimum of four-to-six weeks on the sidelines with a groin problem.

Right-back Nathan Thompson and midfielder Ben Close are both rated as ‘50-50’ for the clash with the Iron.

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Thompson missing the game would leave Jackett without a specialist right-back, while Close’s absence would see Adam May left as the sole holding midfielder in the senior set-up.

Jackett will wait until the last minute if necessary to make a decision on the pair, with Gareth Evans (hamstring), Jack Whatmough (knee), Milan Lalkovic (Achilles) and Danny Rose (broken leg) also missing. Meanwhile, Theo Widdrington missed training this week with suspected tonsillitis.

The Pompey boss is applying a no-nonsense approach to the injury list, though, preferring to focus his energy on the players he has available.

Jackett said: ‘It is (frustrating), but it’s more about the players who are playing.

‘I’m not particularly interested in the ones who aren’t.

‘They get the best treatment we can possibly give them and get looked after as they work back to fitness.

‘From my own point of view, the injured players, as professionals, I’m not particularly interested in.

‘As people, yes, but it’s about the XI who play and the 18 who turn up.

‘Whatever 18 play on Saturday it’s important they get the focus.

‘We’re very much worried about the ones who are fit.

‘We have two players in Close and Thompson, who are 50-50.

‘We’ll see. We’ll give them every chance on Friday and even Saturday morning if we need to.

‘But, after that, it’s about the players on the field – that’s the focus for the club.’

The Blues have called on academy players and young pros to make the squad numbers up through previous injury issues, and Jackett highlighted absences do present chances to others.

He said: ‘Injuries happen. It’s part of football.

‘Other people get opportunities and have to step up and take them.

‘I’m looking at Close, obviously, and hopefully he’ll be okay but we’ll see.

‘There’s still time so we’ll see if he can make it, but at the moment there’s just Adam May.’