Kenny Jackett backing for on-loan Rangers midfielder Ross McCrorie ahead of possible Portsmouth recall against Southampton

Pompey midfielder Ross McCrorie
Pompey midfielder Ross McCrorie
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Kenny Jackett has backed Ross McCrorie to prove his Pompey worth as he contemplates starting the midfielder against Southampton tonight.

The on-loan Rangers ace has enjoyed a mixed start to his Fratton Park career after making the trip south of the border during the summer.

He’s featured six times for the Blues this term but has yet to nail down a regular role in Kenny Jackett’s side.

The 21-year-old could be thrust into action tonight as Pompey entertain south-coast rivals Southampton in the third round of the Carabao Cup.

McCrorie was an unused substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Wycombe, with Jackett opting to deploy Tom Naylor and Ben Close in the engine room for the trip to Adams Park, after the former has been used in defence.

Naylor, however, is rated 50-50 to feature against Saints, after picking up a couple of knocks against the Chairboys.

And if the club captain fails a fitness test, Jackett will turn to McCrorie to step in.

The manager has no qualms turning to a player who has seven Old Firm derby appearances under his belt already.

Jackett is also in no doubt the Scotland under-21 skipper will settle into his Pompey responsibilities and prove a key signing for the Blues this season.

‘Ross McCrorie is someone who could come in,’ said Jackett.

‘He is definitely (a player you want for a derby).

‘He’s had quite an up and down time for us so far, but he’ll settle down, get in and be a good player for us, definitely.

‘It’s maybe just a case of him getting used to things with us.

‘Even in terms of the team, we haven’t necessarily been great or settled either so all of those factors come into it.

‘In terms of midfield, my partnership on Saturday was Close and Naylor, which has been quite successful for me.

‘I did want to go back to that, with Andy Cannon playing the role off the striker as the attacking midfield player.

‘It wasn’t to do with Ross, it was more my decision for Naylor and Close to play together.

‘He’s got a really good character.

‘There have been highs and lows so far but he’s a very capable and good player.’