Jackett forewarned and forearmed for maiden Pompey pre-season

The Pompey players report back for pre-season training on Thursday Picture: Malcolm Wells
The Pompey players report back for pre-season training on Thursday Picture: Malcolm Wells
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A new club, a fresh squad, yet Kenny Jackett’s maiden Pompey pre-season is no leap into the unknown.

The crux of the League Two title-winning side will be present on Thursday as the Blues report back for duty.

I’ve actually spoken to quite a few of the players anyway, several of them use the gym next door (Roko) and I have met them

Kenny Jackett

Granted, there will be a different man at the helm for their return to the training ground, following Paul Cook’s departure for Wigan earlier in the summer.

For Jackett, though, introductions are not required.

Pompey’s boss has already catalogued findings from Fratton Park trips last season. Between the former Wolves man and assistant Joe Gallen, they digested six Blues fixtures during the 2016-17 promotion campaign.

In addition, since his appointment, Jackett has spent time pouring over video action of the players he has inherited.

And while he’s relishing seeing the gathering of his squad on Thursday, the 55-year-old is already forewarned and forearmed.

He said: ‘The return to training is something I’m looking forward to.

‘I am very impressed with the training ground, the pitches are coming on, and, with the warm weather, I’m really looking forward to getting out on the grass with the players, which is coming around soon enough.

‘Between myself and Joe, we saw them six times last year, and since I’ve been appointed I have watched several games on video.

‘I also have good ideas about a lot of the players from previously playing against my teams.

‘I’ve actually spoken to quite a few of them anyway – several use the gym next door (Roko) and I have met them. It’s good to meet them individually and get to know them.

‘This year is a step up, all the players wanted to get into a higher league and test themselves against a better standard. It’s a big challenge for the club and a big challenge for this group of players.

‘We are doing our best to work hard and make sure we have a squad and a team that’s capable come August 5.’

Barely 48 hours following the start of pre-season, the Blues are booked in for their opening friendly.

On Saturday they travel to Steve Claridge’s Salisbury in a fixture which is set to include Pompey’s entire first-team squad. That includes new addition Nathan Thompson, who last week signed from Swindon.

Although, Jackett admits he is still learning about younger members of his playing set-up whose talents he is unfamiliar with.

He added: ‘For the fringe players or maybe the young lads, I am going by word of mouth at the moment, but that’s okay, that’s interesting.

‘That is what a pre-season is for – to have a look at those fringe players and young players to see who can make the step through.

‘I’ve taken opinions from youth staff and people who work here. Pre-season doesn’t start until the end of the week so you naturally ask people their thoughts.

‘There were existing agreements in place with young players such as Brandon Haunstrup and Jack Whatmough and I am happy to continue with that. The youth policy is important.’