Pompey boss: Players fit for purpose

Kenny Jackett surveys Pompey training

Pompey boss: Players fit for purpose

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Kenny Jackett has saluted Pompey fitness levels following a flying start to the summer.

The Blues boss has been impressed how his squad maintained their condition during the close season.

Kenny Jackett surveys Pompey training

Kenny Jackett surveys Pompey training

That self-motivation towards base fitness by the players ensured ball work rather than long-distance running has largely been the training focus.

Since their return two weeks ago, there have also been friendly victories over Cork City and the Hawks.

On each occasion, every member of Jackett’s squad were handed a 45-minute run out to ease them into match action.

And Pompey’s boss is pleased with his players’ ongoing commitment.

He said: ‘Coming back into pre-season, firstly you have to assess the players – and as an experienced manager you see where they are.

‘I think all of our players came back fit, and so they should.

‘That has to be a given if we want to be successful, they need to come in at a certain level athletically, that is really important.

‘And the players have done that.

‘My assessment is the players have come back at a good level of fitness, but in modern-day so they should. It meant we started out with football at a very good level and hope to continue that.

‘We have mixed it up, yo-yo tests, box-to-box running to the balls, going from one to the other rather than just all-in ball skills.

‘We have mixed it up with gym work and demands to make sure the players get to a very good total with the GPS.

‘You can also do straight-line running, there are a lot of people capable of that, but you still need to be working at the football, the football is the most important thing,

‘I understand that base fitness is important, but the base fitness is good with these players so we can work away at the football.

‘We feel through pre-season we can continually improve and make sure the understanding is there.’

An Academy side instead turned out for the advertised Pompey XI fixture at Moneyfields on Tuesday evening.

That means the next first-team friendly is at Stevenage (3pm) on Saturday.

Jackett added: ‘We want to keep the upward curve, making sure as the weeks get further towards our season we build up.

‘We must build up the workload on the players, without losing too many.

‘They have not done badly and we are working towards the season ahead, laying some very, very good foundations.’