Pompey boss: McGee has point to prove

Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler
Luke McGee. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Determined Luke McGee will be itching to prove a point upon his swift starting line-up return.

That is the expectation of Kenny Jackett as he prepares to recall the former Spurs man for Saturday’s trip to MK Dons – after one match on the bench.

I expect him to go from strength-to-strength, he has a lot of promise and is somebody capable of learning and learning quickly

Kenny Jackett

Stephen Henderson had been recruited to provide experience for Pompey and add competition with McGee – assets which saw the Nottingham Forest loanee handed a debut against Doncaster.

However, a thigh problem is now anticipated to sideline the 29-year-old for up to two months.

That has opened the door for McGee to resume No1 goalkeeping duties following his brief sabbatical.

And Jackett is convinced the keeper will react well to the disappointment of being dropped for the first time in his Pompey career.

He said: ‘I hope Luke has a point to prove. I expect top footballers to react well to competition.

‘He probably wasn’t expecting to have an opportunity this quickly, but that’s football life.

‘He’s had a good run and good backing since being at Portsmouth, very good. He is somebody I have a lot of time for.

‘But I think there should be an experienced keeper around to push him, to compete with him, to train with him.

‘That is the reason for Henderson coming in. It wasn’t just criticism of Luke and his performances.

‘I have felt all season we need experience and we did try before the last (summer) window to bring in someone to balance off the two keepers we have.

‘For Luke, it is now about holding the shirt and making sure he keeps away the competition.

‘I think it can help develop you in terms of maturity.

‘I say that all the players out of the team “be ready, be ready, that’s the biggest thing”.

‘You have to be ready because when your chance comes you must take it – and that is the situation with Luke now.

‘I expect him to go from strength-to-strength. He has a lot of promise and is somebody capable of learning and learning quickly.’

Before last weekend, McGee had been an ever-present in League One this season, missing just one game in all competitions for his 35 Pompey outings.

No Blues player has made more appearances during the current campaign.

But Jackett felt the time was right to introduce more experience.

He added: ‘This has not necessarily been against Luke.

‘Good, experienced pros are hard to come by, ones that want to be at the club – and we haven’t got a high number.

‘With quite a young team, if there is one position you do need experience in it’s the goalkeeper.

‘We haven’t had the number of clean sheets I thought our defensive displays warranted, so sometimes changing the equation works.

‘Information, calmness and organisation play a big part. I was pleased to get hold of somebody I consider to be a very, very good senior pro.

‘It wasn’t necessarily against Luke, it was as much what he can bring to the team, bring to the group.’