Kenny Jackett defends Portsmouth cancellation against struggling Southend

Marcus Harness' injury convinced Kenny Jackett to call off this weekend's visit of Southend due to international call-ups. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages/PinP
Marcus Harness' injury convinced Kenny Jackett to call off this weekend's visit of Southend due to international call-ups. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages/PinP
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A blank weekend marooned within an unwanted 18-day League One sabbatical. 

Yet for Kenny Jackett, injury to Marcus Harness made it one absentee too many from the forthcoming visit of struggling Southend.

Kevin Bond's side have lost all six of their league fixture so far, while suffered a 2-0 Leasing.com Trophy defeat at Leyton Orient on Tuesday night.

They were scheduled to head to Fratton Park on Saturday, only for three international call-ups to intervene.

With Craig MacGillivray (Scotland), Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland) and Ross McCrorie (Scotland under-21s) unavailable, Jackett was offered the chance to cancel.

It was a thigh injury sustained at Blackpool to the impressive Harness which made up the Blues boss’ mind.

Thereby losing four of his Bloomfield Road starters, also unavailable are Lee Brown (Achilles) and Bryn Morris (groin), while James Bolton, Ryan Williams and Oli Hawkins are making their way back following injury.

It was a ‘big call’ Jackett felt led to an inevitable cancellation.

He said: ‘With the Bury game scheduled for the week after, you could see a little bit of a break, so we wanted to try to play if we could.

‘But, ultimately, we would have been four starters down from Blackpool – plus Lee Brown.

‘Unfortunately I suppose it was inevitable that it would be called off, but we kept it open as long as possible to look at the permutations.

‘When it looked as though Harness would miss out as well, then that’s a big call whether to play the game.

‘You want to be as strong as you possibly can, the games will come around anyway.

‘In League One we want to get going because that is our priority, two-and-a-half weeks without playing in the league is quite unusual at this stage.

'Part of that has been down to the Victorious Festival, then the international break and the situation with Bury. It’s out of our control, there’s nothing we can do other than when the games come around we’ll be ready.’

Southend themselves will be without Australian skipper Mark Milligan, while Charlie Kelman has been called up for USA under-20s.

A third potential player, Cypriot international Jason Demetriou, is presently injured.