Jackett’s Juniors all set to go again

Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Mark Robinson
Pompey striker Conor Chaplin Picture: Mark Robinson
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POMPEY are ready to roll out the young guns again.

Kenny Jackett will send a youthful side into action once more against Blackpool at Fratton Park.

The Blues boss played one of the youngest sides in the club’s history against Fleetwood on Tuesday night.

The starting XI’s average age was just 22.5 against the Cod Army, which came down to 21.2 when factoring in a very youthful bench.

With Kal Naismith the only addition to the squad after recovering from a groin knock, it’s going to be the game again when facing the Tangerines.

Assistant manager Joe Gallen sees a young side going into the game in upbeat mood.

He said: ‘It’s a young team, but that’s good.

‘There’s been a lot of work done here, academy-wise.

‘There was Close, Chaplin, May and the lads on the bench.

‘It’s a positive thing and there’s a lot of spirit about the group. The result has given them the confidence they can go out and do it.

‘There’s no-one who didn’t play Tuesday coming back into it, apart from Kal Naismith.

‘Kal was always going to be short-term. He’s trained and is back in it. He had a niggle on Monday and we’re really pleased he’s back.

‘Other than that it’s the same group who’s going to be available for Blackpool.’

Despite Jackett’s Juniors being so youthful, the side likely to face Blackpool does possess a fair amount of experience.

Matt Clarke, Christian Burgess and Conor Chaplin have all chalked up 100-plus Pompey appearances for the club. Ben Close and Jack Whatmough have 50-plus Blues outings each.

Meanwhile, Dion Donohue (91 first-team games), Matty Kennedy (125), Luke McGee (84) and Naismith (204) are all experienced.

Gallen added: ‘We were talking about it on the coach but weren’t totally sure what the average was.

‘I thought it had to be around 22 or 23, but there was no-one making their debut.

‘Some of those playing had a lot of experience.

‘Adam May isn’t someone who hasn’t played, he just hasn’t played a lot recently.

‘Conor Chaplin’s been playing recently and has played a lot at this club.

‘They’ve all played for Portsmouth - and played well for Portsmouth.

‘It was a young bench, but the starting XI was one we thought could win the game.

‘I didn’t feel we were that inexperienced and those who played have had success at Portsmouth before.’