Pompey boss discusses recruitment process

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler
Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kenny Jackett has a warning for his squad.

The Pompey boss is looking for improvement to his options with the January window on the horizon.

But with Jackett happy with his numbers, that means there may not be room for everyone by the end of next month.

The 55-year-old is currently working with a squad of 25, which includes the trio of young players on loan in National League South.

And he spoke of his ongoing assessment of the options at his disposal.

Jackett said: ‘It’s something I do as a manager. If I’ve watched the training session, looking at 20 players, it’s hard just to improve the top two.

‘If you could, you would but it’s realistic to improve numbers 19 and 20.

‘It also sets a target not to be bottom of the group. That raises standards.

‘You can have eight excellent players and three very poor ones. Sometimes you can fall down. You’re as strong as your weakest link in any team game.

‘So keeping a consistency of players a big thing.’

Recruitment is naturally going to be on the agenda with the club’s owners in the country before Christmas.

Eric Eisner arrived this week and met Jackett at Pompey’s Roko base on Thursday. Jackett underlined, though, the subject of potential targets is always being discussed.

He said: ‘We’re always talking. We have monthly meetings and phone calls.

‘The head of recruitment is included along with all the guys from the States.

‘There’s an assessment of the squad as we see it, a progression plan internally and externally.

‘We go through that on a regular basis anyway and just because they are over here it won’t necessarily change that assessment.’

With Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jez Bedford and Theo Widdrington out on loan, Jackett is choosing from 22 players when all his options are available.

However, the young trio are available for recall if his options get stretched.

Jackett said: ‘We’ve got 25 at the moment not including Jack Whatmough and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis in that. If they get back it’s a bonus.

‘It’s not something I’m planning for because I wouldn’t like to put pressure on them when it gets to February or March

‘We’ve got 25 players and three of them are out on loan.

‘We have recalls on them after the first 28 days. It’s quite a good thing for squad planning.

‘They can be out playing regular football but – if you do get injuries – you can recall. That can supplement the squad.’

Jackett explained he feels keeping numbers to around 22 is important to make training workable.

He said: ‘It’s a doable number. Most days in training, surprise surprise, we work on 22.

‘Even if we break into sections it ends up as two players per position.

‘Then, within that, particularly with injuries, it offers opportunities to young players to get in front of the first-team staff and train with senior players. That helps their development.’