Portsmouth boss lays down challenge to players

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Kenny Jackett has challenged his fringe players to stake a first-team claim at Crawley.

The Pompey boss is likely to shuffle his pack as the Blues go to the Broadfield Stadium tonight in the Checkatrade Trophy.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

Louis Dennis is set to be given his first senior appearance as his side aims to bounce back from their first league loss of the season against Gillingham.

Meanwhile, Dion Donohue is in line for a maiden outing of the campaign against the League Two outfit.

Joe Mason, Danny Rose, Brandon Haunstrup, Luke McGee and Anton Walkes  are other players set to feature.

Jackett wants to see those men pressing for league inclusion.

He said: ‘We're obviously looking at Louis, Joe Mason, Danny Rose, Brandon Haunstrup and people like that.

‘Haunstrup hasn't really featured lately, apart from a couple of sub appearances early on. There's Luke McGee and Anton Walkes coming back from injury, those type of guys.

‘Dion Donohue’s coming back from injury. Those type of guys will be the make-up of our team. They will get their opportunity and will be looking forward to it.

They’ll be looking forward and itching, if you like, to do it. It’s quite a good time, really, with the first loss on Saturday for them to play and shine.

‘It’s not through their lack of ability (they’ve not played), it’s been that I’ve been able to keep it fairly consistent since the start of the season because we’ve been in a good groove.’

Jackett is also weighing up inclusion for some emerging Pompey talent as part of his first-team set-up at Crawley.

He added: ‘We’ll see. It might be off the bench, it might not. But generally for this competition if there’s some lads who need a game, which they do, it will be interesting to see these guys play and if there’s a promising youngster or two.

‘They may come off the bench and they may be able to plant a seed. It’s similar to a pre-season game really.

‘You can get the chance to look at them hopefully in a strong team. One of them has to poke their head up somewhere along the line.

‘It’s difficult for a high amount of them to play, but a league ground in a major competition is great if it can be used in a positive way.

‘They have to be good enough. We want to be raising the bar in the standard of our players all the time. There has been some promising young players boiling underneath for a while. That makes for a healthy club.’

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