KENNY JACKETT believes Carl Baker still has a Pompey future.
And the Blues manager has challenged the midfielder to win back his place in the starting XI.
The 34-year-old’s future has been the subject of speculation after he was left out of the squad for Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Walsall.
Baker left the ground early to undertake a gym session, which sparked the latest round of talk linking him with a move to Coventry.
The former Sky Blues man took to social media to express his disappointment at being left out but stressed he didn’t storm off.
Jackett believes Baker still has a role to play at Pompey and feels the test for him now is to displace Adam May and Danny Rose, who started in the position he’s being considered for at present.
‘Of course (Baker has a Pompey future). It’s up to players to battle back. Any player not playing is going to be disappointed if they don’t get selected,’ said the manager.
‘Adam May has come through quite well and, so far, I’ve gone with him.
‘I was quite impressed with Ben (Close) in the Fulham game. He’s generally had a good couple of months and I find him a consistent player and person.
‘I do understand disappointment. Any player not playing will be disappointed.
‘Coming out of pre-season it was a close call, but at the moment Adam and Danny Rose have the shirt. It’s down to Carl to win it back.’
Baker was missing from Pompey training yesterday as he attended a hospital appointment with his pregnant wife.
Jackett indicated he still expects a conversation to take place between the pair over his weekend omission.
He added: ‘I would expect a conversation but we’ve pretty much summed it up.
‘He wasn’t around at training. His wife is expecting a child and he was dealing with that. They’re expecting a little boy.’
– JORDAN CROSS