Pompey current and future bid to shine in pre-season return
The footballs have been packed away for 55 days '“ but the League Two title winners are today back in action.
And with a new boss to impress, there’ll be many of the 24-strong squad relishing a fresh start.
Pompey’s Copnor Road training base will throw open its doors once again as it heralds in the pre-season.
Greeting the returning players will be Kenny Jackett, installed as manager earlier this month – and handed the first opportunity to address his players.
There have been impromptu encounters, chance meetings at the Roko venue while players made summer use of the facilities.
Yet, as a group, it represents a maiden congregation with the man who has replaced Paul Cook after two years at the Blues helm.
Jackett will be flanked by Joe Gallen – the partnership reunited at a fourth club together – while it will be intriguing to observe which other backroom staff are present.
Physios Nick Meace and Andy Proctor are expected to join Cook at Wigan, with their departures awaiting official rubberstamping.
Inevitably, their roles require replacing and Jackett has admitted he has been working on recruiting backroom members.
Meanwhile, goalkeeping coach John Keeley and coach Robbie Blake have intimated they want to remain at Fratton Park rather than follow their former boss.
Keeley, in particular, is of prime importance considering the necessity to bring in at least one goalkeeper.
The former Brighton man was responsible for identifying David Forde for Fratton Park on loan and will once more have a key input in keeper recruitment.
As for the playing personnel, the familiar faces of Enda Stevens and Michael Doyle have departed, as have Liam O’Brien, Stanley Aborah and Noel Hunt.
It remains to be seen whether Amine Linganzi is part of proceedings as he continues to await his Pompey fate over a new deal.
Previously out-of-favour duo Milan Lalkovic and Michael Smith are back from their loan spells, although the latter finished the last campaign with an ankle injury.
As a result, Smith may not yet be ready to participate in training.
Elsewhere, Nathan Thompson is a new face following his arrival from Swindon. Yet he may not be alone as Jackett takes a first look at Pompey players current and future.
– NEIL ALLEN