Pompey boss won’t write off wing-backs

Jamal Lowe started at right wing-back for Pompey against Rotherham. Picture: Joe Pepler PPP-170309-171238001
Jamal Lowe started at right wing-back for Pompey against Rotherham. Picture: Joe Pepler PPP-170309-171238001
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Kenny Jackett is prepared to return to playing wing-backs again.

The Pompey boss introduced a 3-4-1-2 formation in the 1-0 defeat to Rotherham at Fratton Park.

But that was binned at the break in favour of a traditional 4-4-2 system with his side a goal down and struggling for fluency.

Brandon Haunstrup and Jamal Lowe were employed as the Blues’ wing-backs, with Brett Pitman operating behind Conor Chaplin and new boy Oliver Hawkins up front.

It was an attacking approach which failed to reap dividends, however.

Jackett has often talked about the formation suiting the players at his disposal, though, and would be happy to go that way again.

He said: ‘We have good central defenders and if we need to use it we will.

‘It’s a case of having the right formation for the right game. It depends on what’s needed in a particular game.’

Jackett explained the reasons why he switched to a flat back four after going with three defenders in the first half.

The 55-year-old felt Rotherham would put bodies behind the ball after going in front and there would not be the need an extra central defender.

Jackett also felt his players needed further width – paving the way for Matty Kennedy and Nathan Thompson to replace Jack Whatmough and Chaplin.

The Pompey boss said: ‘At 1-0 down and with their away record, Rotherham were going to sit in. It was only two needed at the back. Full width was needed.

‘I didn’t think we needed a third centre-back and Rotherham would sit in. That was the case.

‘We needed two at the back then and the full-backs to cover the wide areas.

‘We needed Thompson to come in and cover Taylor, which he did.

‘After that, with Lowe and Kennedy, we wanted maximum width. It just opened us up on the left-hand side.

‘We got a lot of the ball through Kennedy who looks a good deliverer.

‘There were decent balls into the box from him both right and left foot.’

Milan Lalkovic was missing through an Achilles problem while there was no place in the squad for both Danny Rose and Kyle Bennett.

Jackett added: ‘Milan will have an injection to settle his Achilles down. I think he’ll be okay.

‘Bennett and Rose missed out from last week’s starting XI.

‘I decided to go with different combinations in their positions, but they were fully fit and available.’