How Kenny Jackett believes he can manage five Portsmouth central defenders as Jack Whatmough nears return

Kenny Jackett doesn’t believe he’ll have a tough job keeping his central defenders happy when Jack Whatmough completes his injury return.

Thursday, 12th December 2019, 5:30 am
Jack Whatmough

The Blues boss is confident he’ll be able to manage his squad, despite potentially having five players vying for playing time in the middle of defence.

The 23-year-old will be looking to compete with Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Christian Burgess and Oli Hawkins, with captain Tom Naylor a flexible defensive option.

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Among those players, Downing hasn’t played a league minute in nearly three months while Raggett hasn’t seen League One action in five weeks.

Conversely, Jackett has needed to consider not banking on Whatmough this term and also getting the right balance of physical strength in his partnerships.

Despite acknowledging four central defenders would be his optimum, the Pompey boss feels there’s enough flexibility to handle an additional body there.

Jackett said: ‘Yes it is (something he’s comfortable with).

‘It’s been tough to bank on Jack before Christmas.

‘If he gets back in and around it we’ll see what happens in terms of the second half of the season.

‘He has to prove his fitness yet, though, so one step at a time really.

‘You need four centre-backs really.

‘If it’s four centre-backs or (Whatmough) happens to be one of five, there’s players who can play different positions. That’s a squad, isn’t it.

‘You wouldn’t go with two anyway plus Jack in that one. You want to cover yourself anyway and try to have four.’