Crawley v Portsmouth: Pre-match talking points 

Will Rooney looks at the pre-match talking points ahead of Pompey’s Checkatrade Trophy clash at Crawley...

139 DAYS LATER

Louis Dennis is set to start against Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler

Louis Dennis is set to start against Crawley. Picture: Joe Pepler

It’s been a frustrating period for Louis Dennis.

But 139 days after moving to Pompey from Bromley, the forward is finally about to be handed his debut.

When the Blues announced Dennis on a free transfer from the National League outfit, there was plenty of optimism regarding his arrival.

The former Watford academy ace had registered 21 goals and 12 assists in 53 appearances during the 2017-18 campaign, with the Ravens’ season culminating in an FA Trophy final defeat to Brackley at Wembley.

However, Dennis has been denied his Blues bow since moving to Fratton Park.

Dennis has been an unused substitute on just two occasions – even failing to make the bench in the Checkatrade Trophy curtain-raiser win over Gillingham last month.

Dennis will be disheartened he hasn’t been given ample opportunity to showcase his talent.

Nevertheless, he has continued to deliver reminders of what he has to offer when donning the star & crescent.

Albeit, they have been reserve outings but Dennis scored against Reading under-23s and Oxford United.

Jackett has insisted the former Dagenham & Redbridge frontman is a player he rates despite his lack of involvement.

On his 26th birthday, the frontman will make a maiden Pompey appearance. It’ll certainly be a landmark he’ll never forget.

A CHANCE TO IMPRESS

If any member of Saturday's starting XI thought their place was secured in Kenny Jackett’s side, they'll be rethinking.

Despite sitting top of League One, the defeat to Gillingham underlined Pompey are far from the finished article inLeague One.

The Blues slipped to their first league loss of the season against the Gills.

There were few, if any, who could grumble with the 2-0 scoreline.

Although Jackett has rarely made changes to his side this campaign, he knows there is still room for improvement – even before the reverse to Steve Lovell’s men.

The Pompey boss is set to make a number of changes at Crawley.

And it’s crucial those on the periphery seize their chance.

The likes of Brandon Haunstrup, Anton Walkes and Luke McGee have been confined to the substitutes’ bench for the majority of the season.

Meanwhile, Wolves loanee Joe Mason is yet to make a start, while Danny Rose has been included in only four match-day squads.

If there’s a game for players to offer Jackett a reminder of their attributes, it couldn’t have arrived at a better time.

THE FORGOTTEN MAN

Louis Dennis is just one of two Pompey players still to feature this term.

The other is Dion Donohue.

The Welshman has had zero luck whatsoever and it’s difficult to not sympathise.

Firstly, he picked up severe foot blisters during pre-season in Cork.

Next Donohue contracted glandular fever, followed by groin and hamstring injuries.

However, the 25-year-old has regained full fitness and is set for his first start of the campaign at the Broadfield Stadium.

Donohue had an encouraging maiden campaign at Fratton Park last term. But fluctuating between left-back and central midfield couldn’t have helped his progress.

Now earmarked for a role in Kenny Jackett’s engine room, the former Everton academy talent will be out to dislodge the likes of Ben Close and Ben Thompson.