Pompey boss weighs up best attacking formula

Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Conor Chaplin. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett admitted he’s searching for his best striking formula.

The Pompey boss explained he’s still weighing up the right balance to his attacking options.

Jackett has tried a number of combinations up front throughout the Blues’ opening to the campaign.

After largely opting for Conor Chaplin to partner skipper Brett Pitman in pre-season, the 55-year-old has rotated his front men.

Pitman has been the constant so far since his summer arrival from Ipswich.

But Chaplin, Curtis Main and Kal Naismith have been given starts with Nicke Kabamba coming off the bench to win the second-half penalty against Walsall on Saturday.

Chaplin has not featured from the outset since the opening day against Rochdale and didn’t get on the pitch at the weekend.

The 20-year-old has not completed 90 minutes of football since January, but Jackett has no reservations over the fans’ favourite’s fitness.

He does feel he’s looking for the right blend up front, though.

Jackett said: ‘Conor’s had a good attitude in training, but everyone has been close to it (playing in the first team).

‘He started the first game and played 70 minutes.

‘Oxford was 35 minutes and he wasn’t used on Saturday.

‘There’s been a rotation of the forward players.

‘Pitman’s played all the time. After that, it’s probably Naismith next.

‘Then it’s probably even distribution – Curtis Main, Nicke Kabamba and Chaplin.

‘We’re looking at different combinations and different strengths.

‘It’s the right people in the right slot.

‘I don’t think fitness is an issue (with Chaplin).

‘He is developing physically and will get stronger, naturally. That’s good.

‘But if he’s playing well enough, he’ll play 90 minutes.

‘That’s where it is – it’s the same with every player.

‘So far, in forward positions, although I’ve dabbled with Naismith in a wide area once or twice, I’ve pretty much had a look at everybody.’

Despite shuffling his pack in attacking positions, Jackett feels he’s not the type of manager who will tinker excessively with his side.

With injuries to Matt Clarke, Nathan Thompson, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Milan Lalkovic along with a suspension for Jamal Lowe, the Pompey boss insists most of his changes have been enforced.

Jackett added: ‘The majority of the places and slots have been similar through pre-season.

‘Lalkovic has had a few bits and pieces in the wide area.

‘Jamal Lowe got suspended which took him out of it.

‘The number nine I’ve rotated a little bit.

‘Changes have been more through necessity than choice. There’s been a fair consistency in terms of team selection.’