CHRISTIAN BURGESS has been challenged to bounce back after being axed.
The 26-year-old was dropped for the first time by Kenny Jackett in Pompey’s 2-0 success at Oldham.
The move paid off as the Blues got their maiden clean sheet in 16 games at Boundary Park.
Jackett now wants to see the right response from Burgess.
The Pompey boss said: ‘We tried a different combination in the centre (of defence).
‘For Christian, anyway, he’ll come back. He’s been a good player for Portsmouth and for me.
‘I’ve spoken to Christian a lot. We have a good relationship and I like him as a lad.
‘He took it very professionally and that is football life.
‘He has to battle back.’
Jackett opted to utilise Jack Whatmough alongside Matt Clarke as Pompey returned to a back four, after using a three-man defence against Gillingham.
The pair delivered a powerful showing in blizzard conditions.
Jackett added: ‘I thought it was the right thing to play two centre-backs with Ben Close in front, who’s a very diligent player.
‘The partnership of Whatmough and Clarke worked very well and restricted their forwards in what’s a very good partnership in (Eoin) Doyle and (Craig) Davies. We saw that earlier in the season, they’ve got very good results.
‘So we’re pleased with the centre-backs. They’re a young but strong partnership.
‘You have to look for the right combination. It’s not about one person.
‘For Christian, it’s not necessarily about him, but I wanted to look at a different partnership. The pairing of Whatmough and Clarke played very well and is a good pairing for the future.’
– JORDAN CROSS