Early team news: Portsmouth's strength in depth to be on show for trip to Southend

Pompey assistant boss Joe Gallen has promised ‘a very good team’ will line up against Southend in the EFL Trophy despite numerous planned changes for the game at Roots Hall.

By Mark McMahon
Monday, 5th October 2020, 3:34 pm
Pompey midfielder Ben Close.  Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com
Pompey midfielder Ben Close. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

The Blues travel to the League Two side tomorrow night for their second group game in this season’s competition.

Last term manager Kenny Jackett handed youngsters Leon Maloney, Harvey Rew, Eoin Teggart, Josh Flint and Bradley Lethbridge rare starts in these games as he was keen to hand his academy products some much-needed game time.

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The necessity to hand certain individuals first-team match minutes remains the same, with Pompey expected to make wholesale alternations to the side which beat Burton 4-2 on Saturday.

However, on this occasion, senior fringe players will be given the opportunity to get a game under their belts.

That includes Andy Cannon, Alex Bass, Ben Close, Rasmus Nicoliasen, Paul Downing, James Bolton, Haji Mnoga and now John Marquis, after he was left out of the starting XI for the weekend trip to the Pirelli Stadium.

They’re all expected to feature, ensuring Pompey will have a lot of quality and experience line up against Southend.

Gallen said: ‘We’ll have a good team, there’ll be a number of changes with Saturday’s game against MK Dons in mind.

‘We will have a very good team out, there are a lot of players who need the game.

‘People like Cannon, Close, Downing, Bolton, Marquis – there are plenty of players that need to play and will play.

‘Everyone’s fit really. Nobody gets injured here anymore, it’s brilliant, so we must be doing something right!

‘They are all fit and we can choose from all of them, which is a good position to be in.

‘Everyone is fit, we have a bit of a smaller squad but still have a really good squad.

‘Everyone that needs a game will get a game, and that means putting out a proper team full of League One players.

‘There will be no youngsters playing really.

‘It will be a very good team on paper, but they all have to perform.’

The fixture will allow new-boy Nicoliasen the chance to show what he can do after he completed a loan move from Danish outfit FC Midtjylland last month.

The centre-half is yet to feature, with Jackett currently preferring to partner Jack Whatmough with Sean Raggett in the middle of his defence.

However, Gallen said he was looking forward to seeing the 23-year-old in competitive action.

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He added: ‘It’s t first chance to see Rasmus close up, he looks a good player and we’ll see how he gets on.

‘He’s a typical centre-half, desperate to head it, really wants to defend, is no nonsense, but has a nice left foot as well.

‘We are looking for him to be a very good defender but also hope to see some distribution from him with his left foot.’

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