Pompey blueprint is proven to deliver promotion goal

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
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It’s been a tried-and-tested method in League One in recent years.

And Kenny Jackett is following a similar blueprint as he looks to engineer Pompey’s way into the Championship.

There are several ways clubs achieve promotion.

One is to plough almost every spare penny into the playing budget.

Teams purchase the best players available – often luring them with hefty wage packets.

It’s a risky approach to take, though.

Fail to achieve promotion and it could have significant consequences.

Just look at the financial turmoil that emerged at Aston Villa just days after suffering defeat to Fulham in the Championship play-off final.

Another avenue managers can take is to recruit hungry and determined players.

It is clear from Jackett’s summer recruitment to date, that’s the way he believes he can deliver second-tier football to PO4.

With a budget of around £3.2m – which is middle of the road in League One – his method is seemingly to bring players to Fratton Park desperate to prove their worth.

He has already sealed deals with two players who know how to challenge for promotion from the division – without splashing the cash.

Of all the teams who have reached the Championship in recent years, Burton were the biggest surprise.

Against all odds, they achieved back-to-back promotions to arrive in the second tier.

And Tom Naylor was a key member of that team.

‘We signed a few here and there but kept the spine of the squad from League Two,’ said the new Pompey midfielder.

‘You don’t have to break the bank to do it. You just have to know your players and get players you can work with.’

Shrewsbury may have missed out on promotion last term – but many, including this observer, felt they deserved to go up.

Paul Hurst’s men had been tipped for relegation.

But instead they cruised to the play-off final – only to suffer heartbreak against Rotherham at Wembley.

Hurst signed the likes of John Nolan, from Chesterfield, and Gateshead’s James Bolton.

Craig MacGillivray was also part of that squad – before signing for Pompey last month.

He said: ‘The manager brought in quite a few players who weren’t proven, hadn’t had the break and established themselves somewhere.’

There have been no star signings this summer. No Brett Pitman-style arrival like last year. But by no means does that suggest the squad has not improved.

So far Ronan Curtis, Louis Dennis, MacGillivray, Naylor and Lee Brown have arrived.

They all have something in common – a desire to succeed and reach the Championship.

Curtis and Dennis have yet to establish themselves in the Football League, so will be desperate to show they can make the grade.

MacGillivray is 25, has fewer than 30 Football League games under his belt and is still hurting after that play-off defeat to the Millers.

Naylor has enjoyed two Championship seasons and will want a swift return to the division, while Brown left Bristol Rovers to also reach the second tier.

It’s a shrewd way to clinch promotion – and one evidently can work.