KENNY JACKETT revealed he considered starting the season with a three-man defence.
And the Pompey boss hasn’t ruled out switching formation once his side’s injuries at the back have cleared up.
Setbacks with Nathan Thompson and Matt Clarke saw Jackett can the idea of trying three at the back.
The latter being a natural left-footer made him an important cog in the success of the approach in the 55-year-old’s eyes.
So it’s certain to be four at the back for the League One curtain-raiser against Rochdale on Saturday.
But Jackett hasn’t written off changing tack later in the campaign.
He said: ‘I would have done (played three at the back).
‘I think you need a left-footer like Clarke when you play a three, but Thompson’s experienced there as well.
‘It’s something I would consider if we had those players fit.
‘Three at the back is something I’ve considered and would like to go to.
‘I do see it as an option, but you need those players fit and available.
‘With Thompson and Clarke being out so quickly I thought it was best to continue as we are. That’s been the case for us in pre-season.
‘It is (popular). A lot of people in a lot of divisions are trying it and working it.
‘If it’s complex it doesn’t usually work. It has to be a simple system.
‘Certainly, a left-footed centre-half and the right balance is a key.’
Jackett has used new signing Brett Pitman behind Conor Chaplin since the striker’s arrival from Ipswich.
The Blues boss sees the way his team are set up as the same 4-2-3-1 formation employed by Paul Cook last term
He explained he felt it made sense to continue in the same vein and avoid any dramatic chances at this stage.
Jackett added: ‘It’s been 4-2-3-1 since I’ve been here.
‘It’s a system the players know. Their recruitment and coaching has been in that system.
‘It’s been Pitman playing the 10 when it’s been people like Gary Roberts in the past couple of seasons.
‘After that, the replacements have been like-for-like in Holmes-Dennis for Stevens and obviously McGee for Forde.
‘Thompson has come in as a defender, but is a player who can play a number of roles.’
– JORDAN CROSS