Portsmouth boss: No player rustiness after enforced sabbatical

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Pompey’s players are refreshed and rejuvenated following an enforced five-day break.

And, much to Kenny Jackett’s relief, there has be no detection of rustiness since Monday’s training return.

Kenny Jackett is relieved his players have returned from their enforced lay-off sharp and focused. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Kenny Jackett is relieved his players have returned from their enforced lay-off sharp and focused. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

Robbed of a weekend fixture by Charlton’s international trio, the League One table-toppers were handed deserved time off following the Checkatrade Trophy win over Spurs under-21s.

Perfect timing considering the looming period of 12 games in 43 days as the season enters the new year. 

Still, the Blues’ players were back in training at the start of the week in preparation for Saturday’s trip to Scunthorpe.

And Jackett has been pleased to observe the absence of sluggishness following the brief sabbatical.

He said: ‘The international break is slightly frustrating because we would have all preferred to have played.

‘But as soon as the game was called off, we were looking to be positive and use it constructively.

‘If it refreshes a few people great, but from my point of view we have been really pushing the players this week to make sure we haven’t come back rusty or it takes us a game or two to get going.

‘I have been pleased with the players’ response. Their training, standards in training and competition in training have been high.

‘In terms of how they have been this week, they have looked good, looked sharp and looked ready. They’ve been hungry and the standard in training has been no different.

‘I didn’t want them to take two or three days to get going – and I certainly don’t want them to get two or three games to get going after a break.’

Pompey have Dion Donohue and Joe Mason once again absent through injury for their Glanford Park encounter which kicks off a hectic schedule.

It’s a period which sees the Blues face promotion rivals Sunderland and Barnsley in the build up towards Christmas.

There’s also an FA Cup journey to Rochdale and the Checkatrade Trophy visit of Arsenal under-21s to Fratton Park.

And Jackett is relishing what promises to be a testing time.

He added: ‘We are looking forward to the games, there’s a great run of matches as you through the next month-and-a-half.

‘I see it as a big challenge, we have a good amount of players fit and available and I think champing at the bit and ready to go.

‘We are ready for the games and are looking forward to it. It’s a good chance, a good opportunity and we have to look forward positively.’