David Wheeler’s Pompey breakthrough has earned Kenny Jackett’s applause.
The Blues boss was impressed with the QPR loanee’s Checkatrade Trophy contribution against Gillingham.
It had been a low-key opening to Wheeler’s Fratton Park career, with no league starts and unused from the bench in three-successive games ahead of Tuesday’s fixture.
However, the forward capped an impressive second half by netting the final goal in a 4-0 triumph.
And his impact caught Jackett’s attention.
Pompey’s manager said: ‘I thought Dave grew into the game and by the end had a strong match.
‘It started looking like “where was he going to get on the ball?” and “when was he getting into the game?”.
‘I was very pleased he worked it out and, by the end of the game, was a really strong player for us.
‘He didn’t play too much football last season, so is finding his way fitness-wise but I thought he had an excellent game on Tuesday. I was really pleased with him.’
Meanwhile, Jackett has played down Louis Dennis’ absence from both the Checkatrade Trophy and the reserves’ Premier League Cup fixture at Plymouth, which both took place on the same evening.
He added: ‘There was no real reason (why Dennis was not selected).
‘He’s fully fit and we selected other players. He’s been unlucky, just behind some good players in those forward positions.
‘He has to be patient and he has to keep working hard.’