Pompey squad buying into new manager’s message

John Keeley, left, listens in as Kenny Jackett addresses the players Picture: Sarah Standing
John Keeley, left, listens in as Kenny Jackett addresses the players Picture: Sarah Standing
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POMPEY’s squad are buying into Kenny Jackett’s approach on the training ground.

And Blues goalkeeping coach John Keeley is expecting pre-season training to go through the gears this week.

Keeley is enjoying being part of the new first-team set-up following Jackett’s arrival at Fratton Park.

The 55-year-old chose to remain at the club, despite former Fratton Park boss Paul Cook being keen to take him to Wigan.

Keeley and first-team coach Robbie Blake are staying put and forming a team with Jackett and his assistant, Joe Gallen.

Currently in his second spell with the club, he has watched the new boss put his message across after pre-season training started last Thursday.

And Keeley explained there has been a high-tempo reaction from the players as his methods are embraced.

He said: ‘I loved my time working with the chaps (Cook and Leam Richardson) from last season. It was brilliant.

‘But Kenny is here now and will have his own approach to things.

‘He has his own ideas and, from what I’ve seen so far, he’s going to be really good to work with.

‘I’ve enjoyed watching what he’s put on in sessions and working with the keepers after coming back.

‘Joe (Gallen) is a really nice guy with clear thoughts on what he wants. I think that’s really important.

‘Once we really get going this week we’ll see a lot more ideas come out.

‘There’s a good atmosphere around the place and we have some good players.

‘The boys are buying into what they’re doing. You can see that.

‘I believe in the way Kenny is going about his work and his ways.’

The footballs were out on day one as the Blues returned last week.

No fitness testing took place, as is often the case when players report back after their close-season break.

But Keeley isn’t sure if that is necessary with the players following programmes across the summer and keeping themselves in shape.

The quality of their conditioning was evident after their return, according to their former Brighton man.

And Keeley is upbeat about what can lie ahead for Pompey in the forthcoming League One campaign.

He added: ‘You don’t need to be slogging players these days because they’re all so fit anyway.

‘We had a fit bunch here last season and they don’t get time to put on too much weight because they’re given programmes to follow over the summer.

‘You can see the shape of them when they come back in.

‘They’re all in great condition.

‘I’m sure Kenny is just thinking it needs tweaking here and there.

‘Hopefully we can have a really good season.

‘I think it’s going to go well.’

– JORDAN CROSS