Joe Gallen believes Matty Kennedy was back to his old self in Pompey’s 3-1 win over Northampton.
The Scot was making just his third start in 11 games after struggling to get into Kenny Jackett’s starting line-up following the re-emergence of Gareth Evans.
Kennedy looked like he had a point to prove to the Blues boss and delivered a man-of-the-match performance against the Cobblers.
He scored a terrific equaliser on 41 minutes and was a constant threat down the left wing.
Gallen lauded the Cardiff loanee’s performance – but has challenged Kennedy to continue to produce similar displays going forward to keep his place in the team.
Pompey’s assistant boss said: ‘Matty has been disappointed to be out of the team and he’d say he doesn’t deserve to be.
‘That’s absolutely fine, but with everyone and all of us talk can be cheap and actions speak louder than words and he proved a point – particularly with the first goal that got us back into the game.
‘It was a very good goal, conjuring up a bit of magic from the edge of the box.
‘That gave him a lot of confidence and a lot of belief and you saw the Matty Kennedy when he first came.
‘He looked a little bit like when he came on against Rotherham earlier in the season.
‘Playing well in one game is good but he now needs to do it in a run of games.’
As a result of Kennedy’s inclusion, Jamal Lowe was dropped to the substitutes’ bench, ending a run of 12 league starts for the Blues.
The former Hampton & Richmond talent was brought on sooner than expected, however, as he replaced Evans at half-time.
The Pompey vice-captain was forced off with a hamstring injury.
Gallen revealed he and Jackett felt Lowe needed a rest, but was impressed with the winger when he was introduced.
The assistant added: ‘Jamal has needed a break because in that position there’s a lot of running and sprinting without the ball to be done in the wide area.
‘Any wide player I’ve worked with has said “all I do is run, I never get the ball” so there’s a lot of running to be done.
‘Fatigue can set in mentally and physically, but resting Jamal for half the game did him good because I thought he had a strong second-half performance – he looked powerful.
‘He’s got to seize his opportunity at Bristol Rovers if he starts – it looks like he will – and see him like he was at the start of the season.’
– WILL ROONEY