The Hawks v Pompey: Pre-match talking points

Kenny Jackett. Picture: Sarah Standing
Kenny Jackett. Picture: Sarah Standing
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Will Rooney looks at three talking points ahead of Pompey’s friendly trip to the Hawks tomorrow...

Glimpse into Jackett’s system

Pompey have a tough test at Westleigh Park against last season’s Ryman League premier division champions.

Last Saturday’s 3-0 victory at Salisbury was as easy as they come, with Alex Bass and Jack Collins rarely troubled in between the posts either side of half-time.

Kenny Jackett fielded 22 players at the Raymond McEnhill Stadium as he got a glimpse of his new troops for the first in a match scenario.

However, the Blues boss looks set to make fewer changes tomorrow and will treat the game more like a competitive contest.

Granted, there’ll be no high-flying challenges, but it could paint a picture of the system Pompey will play in League One.

Jackett opted to continue with the 4-2-3-1 system Paul Cook championed at Salisbury.

The former Wolves boss won’t completely rip up his predecessor’s work, but he could look to portray his own philosophy against Lee Bradbury’s outfit.

Conor Chaplin is available after missing the trip to the Raymond McEnhill Stadium.

The 20-year-old is highly rated by his new manager. After mainly being used as an impact player under Cook, it’ll be intriguing how Chaplin fits into Jackett’s desired system.

New signing Nathan Thompson was also absent through injury at Salisbury. Jackett could play the ex-Swindon captain at right-back or in a three-man defence and deploy wing backs.

First look at Holmes-Dennis

A fresh face is always exciting – especially when they come from a Premier League side.

Tareiq Holmes-Dennis turned down the chance of playing against Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and Alexis Sanchez at Huddersfield next season to join Pompey on loan.

Despite having played in both Championship semi-final games for the Terriers against Sheffield Wednesday last campaign, the 21-year-old wants to gain more experience under his belt in the lower leagues.

Holmes-Dennis has – and will be aware of – the huge boots he has to fill at left-back. Enda Stevens’ impact at Fratton Park in the past two seasons was magnificent and he was one of, if not the most consistent player at Fratton Park.

Farnborough-born Holmes-Dennis has been described as an attacking asset by Jackett, which fits him into the same category as Stevens and softens the blow of the Irishman departing for Sheffield United.

The former Charlton man will likely be given the opportunity to showcase his talent at Westleigh Park.

Not only does he have to duplicate Stevens, but he also has Brandon Haunstrup lurking on the sidelines after impressing at Salisbury.

Will Evans retain the armband?

Jackett will still not have made his mind up on who is going to be Michael Doyle’s successor.

Gareth Evans was given the first crack at the whip last week against Steve Claridge’s men, followed by Carl Baker in the second half.

The former impressed his boss in the first two days of pre-season training for his attitude and experience.

At 29 and having committed his future to the Blues, Evans is a prime candidate to retain the duties against the Hawks.

However, with more time spent with his squad, Jackett could well be mauling over giving the armband to another candidate at Westleigh Park.

Thompson has a wealth of leadership attributes already having been appointed captain at Swindon at just 22. Although he’s in a new territory, Doyle was in the same situation two years ago before taking on the responsibility.

Meanwhile, Christian Burgess and Danny Rose are as professional as they come and wouldn’t reject an audition with the armband on.