Pompey boss bidding for right blend

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has been looking for the right blend of youth and experience. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett has been looking for the right blend of youth and experience. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett is aiming to get the right combination of youth and experience into Pompey’s starting line-up.

After being appointed manager in June, the Blues boss actively sought to reduce his squad’s average age.

Veterans Michael Doyle.David Forde, Carl Baker and Gary Roberts all left Fratton Park.

And with the likes of Luke McGee and Matty Kennedy completing switches to Pompey, the average squad age was brought down to just over 24. However, Jackett opted for experience at Blackpool last weekend on the back of four successive defeats.

He restored Danny Rose, Kal Naismith and Gareth Evans to his starting line-up.

It paid dividends as the Blues battled to a 3-2 victory, courtesy of Brett Pitman’s 86th-minute winner. Jackett feels his team hasn’t had enough experience at times this season.

He is trying to marry that up with the youth in his side.

Jackett said: ‘I felt we needed a younger team from last year.

‘Quite naturally that happened anyway. Forde, Michael Doyle, Carl Baker and Gary Roberts left and Eoin Doyle went back (to Preston) and was looking for a northern club.

‘It was going to change anyway because it was quite an experienced team and the right team to get out of the division, 100 per cent.

‘At times, have we had enough talking, information knowledge and nous out on the pitch? Probably not.

‘When you go on a losing run you’re trying to get as much experience on the field as possible.

‘If there’s a group of young players who can step in and blow it all away then great – keep them going. But that’s probably unlikely to happen.

‘So somewhere along the line you need some knowledge and experience.

‘When everybody is fit we do have that.’

Jackett hasn’t been afraid to give his youngsters a chance this season.

Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Conor Chaplin have all enjoyed periods in Pompey’s starting line-up.

Meanwhile, Ben Close has started the Blues’ past 12 matches.

Jackett revealed he always tries to give his players a decent run in his team – usually lasting four to eight games.

‘Ben Close has had a run in the team and continues to get better,’ the Pompey boss added.

‘Other players have runs of four to eight games.

‘I like to give players a decent run.

‘You can tell by the end they probably do need to come out.

‘The team needs it and for them, they need that breather to stop and go again.

‘I did feel after the runs of losses we had we needed some talking and experience in there – or as much as we could have.

‘I talked about having forward partnerships.

‘Brett Pitman and Kyle Bennett are experienced – they have a lot of league games between them – and they know what they’re doing.’