KENNY JACKETT is certain Louis Dennis will impress when he’s given ample opportunity.
The forward has had limited first-team chances at Pompey after joining from Bromley on a free transfer in the summer.
The 26-year-old was only handed his Blues bow in 1-0 Checkatrade Trophy victory over Crawley on Tuesday – more than four months after arriving at Fratton Park.
And, before Saturday’s trip to AFC Wimbledon, he’s still to make his League One debut.
However, Dennis has caught the eye when he’s featured for the reserves, scoring against Reading under-23s and Oxford United.
The former Dagenham & Redbridge frontman also teed-up Dion Donohue for his match-winner at Crawley.
Jackett admits Dennis’ lack of game-time is because of the form Ronan Curtis, Jamal Lowe and Gareth Evans have displayed during the Blues’ early title challenge.
But the boss insists the former Watford youth ace will be needed this season – and has the ability to make an impact.
Jackett said: ‘It’s been a frustrating time for him as he just hasn't had any game-time.
‘But we've been successful and the team and the pattern has been pretty settled.
‘People like Lowe, Curtis and Evans have got off to pretty good starts to the season and it's been tough for Louis, through no fault of his own.
‘But, similarly, I do know as and when we need him – and we will – there will be a fresh player coming in.
‘That’s a good thing to have because you can sometimes you can run out of steam and you need a fresh player to bring something to it.
‘Like Joe Mason, he will want a run of games to get into their best rhythm.
‘I don’t consider he’s had too much of a chance yet and that’s where it is.
‘He will get a chance but he’s been unfortunate because of the form of the other players and, to a degree, a lack of injuries.
‘But when he does come in he’ll come in as a fresh player and that’ll only be good for us.
‘In terms of judging him, his attitude and ability has been there, but we still have to wait because he hasn’t had a fair crack of the whip yet.
‘He has a two-year contract and he will get into the team and will do well.’
Dennis has returned Football League after spending three-and-a-half seasons at non-league Bromley.
By his own admission, the Hendon-born talent has noticed a physical step-up in League One from the National League.
Jackett revealed Dennis has been working hard with Pompey’s strength & conditioning staff to ensure he can make the grade.
The Blues boss added: ‘He works very hard and talks about his own transition.
‘From where he’s come from, players are a lot stronger and a lot more powerful and he talks to the staff about doing that.
‘Fair play to him for identifying that in that way and if he feels he needs that to make the step up two divisions then fine.
‘It’s a good attitude to have.’