Pompey winners give Jackett food for thought

Kenny Jackett toasted a winning introduction to his squad as Pompey kicked off their summer schedule with victory.

Monday, 3rd July 2017, 7:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:42 am
Pompey celebrate Tom Davies' goal at Salisbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170816-936)

Second-half goals from Milan Lalkovic, Tom Davies and Ben Close clinched a 3-0 triumph at Salisbury on Saturday.

Jackett had spent just 48 hours with his players following their return for pre-season training.

Yet he managed to oversee a comfortable Raymond McEnhill Stadium result in which 22 of his squad were utilised.

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Missing Conor Chaplin, Nathan Thompson and Michael Smith through injury, the new boss granted 45 minutes to all those who did feature.

Meanwhile, 51-year-old Steve Claridge had to play against the club he formerly managed – because of 10 of his players unavailable.

Nonetheless, it was the perfect start for Jackett as he continues to learn about the squad he inherited from Paul Cook.

He said: ‘You always want to win, so it’s nice to do that very early – on July 1 – and also assess the players in a match situation.

‘It’s about assessing the players, assessing their fitness and assessing where the team is in preparation for the Rochdale game on August 5.

‘This is a good time to play half a game and then build up.

‘That is the norm – and for me to be able to look at different players as well.

‘We had a few who were pushed a little bit far last week in terms of training and haven’t made it but I’m hopeful all three lads will be fit in the coming weeks.

‘Young Christian (Oxlade-Chamberlain) didn’t get on and Dan Smith is out of the youth team and backed us up on the bench.

‘Other than that, every fit player had 45 minutes.

‘It’s a well-balanced squad and there are some young players who have shown some promise.

‘In the first half I thought in the first two-thirds of the pitch we were very good, although we need to maybe find some cutting edge in the final third.

‘For the second half we had worn Salisbury down a little bit fitness-wise and I’m pleased to say we capitalised with three goals.’

Pompey’s next fixture is the short trip to face the Hawks at Westleigh Park this Saturday (3pm).

By that stage, Jackett’s hopeful Thompson, Chaplin and Smith will be back in the reckoning.

He added: ‘Nathan picked up a foot injury in training on Friday and won’t be long.

‘Hopefully he’ll be back this week.

‘Conor has a calf injury and we are looking at a similar timeframe, while Michael collected a stress fracture in April and is coming back from that.

‘They wouldn’t have played if it was a league game.

‘But I still don’t think they are major disruptions and it shouldn’t stop their pre-season too much.’