Kenny Jackett: Brett Pitman remains my Portsmouth captain - but must fight for place

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Brett Pitman will retain the Pompey captaincy during the forthcoming season.

But Kenny Jackett has warned the Blues talisman that he faces a challenge to break into his starting XI.

Skipper Brett Pitman scored 13 goals for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Skipper Brett Pitman scored 13 goals for Pompey last season. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pitman has plundered 38 goals in 83 appearances since arriving at Fratton Park in the summer of 2017.

It represents an outstanding return from a player who was also instantly handed the captain’s armband as Michael Doyle’s replacement.

The former Bournemouth striker enjoyed a strong end to last season, having been omitted from the squad on a number of occasions.

With the new campaign approaching, Pitman must now seal his place in Pompey’s number 10 role.

Regardless, he remains Jackett’s captain.

He said: ‘Pitman is still captain and Evans is still vice captain.

‘When Brett hasn’t always been in the team, Gareth captained, Tom Naylor also had quite a number of appearances as captain after them.

‘Brett brings experience and, playing that number 10 role, I do feel he brings an assuredness, a confidence on the ball and the ability to finish at the right time – he will continue to captain this year,

‘I do think now for Brett, though, he is in the last year of his contract and will want to really work hard to do well this season.

‘For him, it is a challenge to get into the side, as it is with every player. It’s a challenge he can rise to.

‘He might not necessarily be someone who plays 62 games, but I am still expecting a big contribution from him this year. I want that to be the case, I don’t want it to be easy for anyone to get into the team.

‘But similarly for him, he has to push himself in pre-season, earn a place. He can do well for us this year, get a good goals tally and play that number 10 position very well, there’s no doubt about that.

‘As with every player, I wouldn't want it to be an easy or foregone conclusion for them to walk into the team without any competition.

‘I am expecting a big contribution in the final year of Brett’s contract as he tries to earn a new one.’

Pitman remains a senior voice and well-respected dressing-room presence.

But Jackett has played down the significance of the skipper role.

He added: ‘I don’t think the captaincy is a massive thing.

‘I’ve got some good experienced players here, others such as Lee Brown, Tom Naylor and Craig MacGillivray, there are some good characters – and I’d like to think I have added to that as well

‘If you can always sign captains and people that look like they are captains then that’s great. If you have one exceptional one and not enough behind that, it doesn’t necessarily work.’