Kenny Jackett: Brett Pitman understands why I removed him as Portsmouth captain

Brett Pitman is no longer Pompey skipper, with Tom Naylor instead handed the honours. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages/Pin
Brett Pitman is no longer Pompey skipper, with Tom Naylor instead handed the honours. Picture: Simon Davies/ProSportsImages/Pin
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Kenny Jackett insists Brett Pitman ‘understands’ the decision to remove him as Pompey captain.

And he has challenged the striker to now focus on forcing his way back into the Blues' starting XI.

Following two seasons as skipper, Pitman has now relinquished the responsibility to Tom Nayor.

In addition, the vice-captaincy has switched from Gareth Evans to Lee Brown.

The experienced pair were informed at the beginning of last week, although Naylor had led the side at Blackpool, with the duo out of the side.

Pitman could now start against Norwich under-21s on Saturday following his goalscoring entrance as substitute against Crawley.

Yet it will be Naylor wearing the armband for the Leasing.com Trophy clash.

Jackett said: ‘Brett understood, we had a conversation.

‘We also had a conversation about him trying to follow on from Crawley and his goalscoring.

‘He understands my reasons in terms of I think I need a defender now – and it’s the right time for Tom. It’s not necessarily about Brett, it’s the right time for Tom Naylor.

‘After that, I've talked about him working hard to stay in the team, the competition around him and hopefully gelling with some of the new forwards we have.

‘He has accepted that and, if you look at the last game against Crawley, Tom Naylor was captain and the performances of Evans and Pitman didn’t suffer.

‘As a captain, Brett did fine and would have learnt a lot. He will be focused on playing a big part this season.

‘Both him and Gareth understand my reasons.

‘Of course there is some disappointment, I’m sure, but similarly it’s about being professional and making sure you can get into the team, hold that shirt and do well for yourself and the club.’

Meanwhile, Evans has returned to training following concussion sustained against Crawley.

Jackett added: ‘Evans is very professional and committed to the cause, he’s focused on getting and holding down a regular place.

‘I see him as a player who can operate in any of the three positions behind the striker and probably would choose the number 10.

‘As we stand at the moment, Pitman, Evans and (Andy) Cannon are competing for that.’