Comment: Summer recruitment, Pompey squad depth and Jackett’s selection headache

Anthony Grant. Picture: David Lowndes

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If any Pompey player needed extra motivation to return for pre-season duty raring to go, then this summer’s recruitment must have given them plenty.

Lee Brown became Kenny Jackett’s fifth signing of the summer yesterday.

Kenny Jackett welcomed Tom Naylor to Pompey last week Picture: Portsmouth FC

Kenny Jackett welcomed Tom Naylor to Pompey last week Picture: Portsmouth FC

At the end of last season, the Blues boss outlined his intentions to get his business done early as he plots his side’s way into the Championship.

And he’s done just that, with Ronan Curtis, Louis Dennis, Craig MacGillivray, Tom Naylor and Brown moving to Fratton Park.

And you can add Anton Walkes, who is expected to return from Spurs, to the list – plus another striker.

Apart from maybe Naylor, none of the above have been the heavy-hitter expected to walk through the Fratton Park door this summer.

But there’s no doubt, Jackett’s business has given him a blend of experience, hunger and, most crucially, competition for places.

One factor that prevented Pompey from reaching the play-offs last season was the depth of the Blues squad.

Injuries plagued Jackett’s maiden season in charge, which often meant there were a dearth of options to change games from the bench.

In Pompey’s 53 matches last term, the boss failed to use his designated amount of substitutes on 32 occasions.

It was possibly because Jackett didn’t feel those sat on the sidelines could make the desired impact.

The likes of Dan Smith and Theo Widdrington took berths among the substitutes several times. In truth, the youngsters were there to make up the numbers.

However, things are looking quite different ahead of the upcoming campaign.

There is now competition for places in every role which will prove healthy.

In fact, there could be regular starters from last season who may even miss out on a bench spot.

Take centre-midfield, for example. Jackett will have Naylor, Walkes, Ben Close, Danny Rose, Dion Donohue, Nathan Thompson, Gareth Evans and Adam May to choose from.

And not only does it generate competition, but the boss will have the scope to give some of his troops respite if needed.

A striker with pace is still required and there might even be a few loan arrivals depending on how much of the budget is left over.

But, on a whole, Jackett has shrewdly got the majority of his business done early and plugged all of the voids in his squad that needed filling.

– WILL ROONEY