Pompey v Rochdale: early team news

Pompey midfielder Carl Baker
Pompey midfielder Carl Baker
Jack Whatmough, Matt Clarke and Luke McGee show their frustration after Bradford opened the scoring. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kenny Jackett has no new injury concerns for his first competitive game in charge of Pompey against Rochdale.

Nathan Thompson (foot) and Matt Clarke (groin) remain the only first-team squad members sidelined.

Thompson is moving forward with his recovery, though, and could be back in training next week.

Clarke is a distance away from getting back into contention, however, mirroring his fortunes at the start of last season.

That leaves Jack Whatmough and Tom Davies vying for the central defensive starting spot alongside Christian Burgess tomorrow.

Elsewhere, Carl Baker is in pole position to start in the centre of midfield with Danny Rose.

Baker has been moved inside by Jackett, who believes his range of passing can be effective in that area of the pitch.

The manager has indicated he’s likely to continue with the 4-2-3-1 formation favoured by Paul Cook last season.

New signing Brett Pitman will be handed a withdrawn role behind striker Conor Chaplin.

Luke McGee and Tareiq Holmes-Dennis will also be handed debuts. Pitman will wear the captain’s armband on his bow.

Rochdale...

Keith Hill’s team selection has been hampered by several injuries collected during pre-season.

Highly-regarded left-back Joe Bunney is out for the opening months of the campaign with a knee injury.

It was sustained during a summer training camp in Tenerife, so recent recruit Kgosi Ntlhe will come in.

Another who picked up an injury in training is Brendan Moore, who arrived from Torquay during the close season.

Earmarked as back-up keeper, he is sidelined with a calf problem, so goalkeeping coach Steve Collis is set to be on the bench at Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, there are question marks over right-back Joe Rafferty following a knock.

He featured for 20 minutes in last weekend’s friendly at Morecambe, yet remains short of match fitness.

Andy Cannon is in the frame to replace Rafferty at full-back if he is ruled out.

Elsewhere, Harrison McGahey as been struggling with injury in pre-season, although is pushing for the bench.

Jordan Williams, a £100,000 signing from Barrow, should be among the substitutes.