POMPEY’s fringe players can still play themselves into starting contention for the big kick-off.
Kenny Jackett promised his starting XI for the League One curtain raiser against Rochdale is not a closed shop.
The Blues continue their preparations for the new season as they welcome Bournemouth to Fratton Park tomorrow (3pm).
In the friendlies to date, the 55-year-old has given plenty of clues about the way he’s looking to go when August 5 arrives.
But he outlined that doesn’t mean there isn’t a chance for players to convince him they’re worthy of starting.
Jackett is hoping to see younger squad members, like Adam May, nail down a first-team spot.
He said: ‘They can (play themselves into contention).
‘It’s an ongoing process anyway.
‘You need to work at a squad and make sure you have two players for every position.
‘You need players who know what’s expected of them.
‘They have to be ready so the team doesn’t suffer.
‘There’s some good, young players here and there’s space for them to grow and improve.
‘There’s many young players before who’ve had an indifferent season and come back a man.
‘I’m looking for that. I’m looking for those young players to be ready to come through.’
Last weekend’s warm-up at Bognor saw Pompey field a strong side and not make any changes.
Jackett has no reservations about making his thinking clear in terms of who is ahead of who at present in the battle to start.
He added: ‘There’s a clear pattern – and so there should be through pre-season.’
– JORDAN CROSS