Kenny Jackett explains Marcus Harness' Portsmouth sidelining at Bristol Rovers

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Kenny Jackett has explained why Marcus Harness was benched for Pompey’s trip to Bristol Rovers.

On Saturday, the summer signing was dropped for the first time in his fledgling Fratton Park career, with Ronan Curtis preferred on the left of the attacking three.

Meanwhile, Ryan Williams continued on the right in the role Harness has occupied most times under Jackett.

In the 23-year-old’s absence, both his wing rivals impressed, particularly man-of-the-match Curtis, who netted the Blues’ second in the 2-2 draw.

It left Harness as an unused substitute, with Pompey’s boss electing to introduce only Ellis Harrison from the bench, albeit in stoppage-time.

And Jackett explained his reasoning for sidelining a player so impressive in the early part of the campaign.

Marcus Harness

Marcus Harness

He said: ‘It never does you any harm to have a game or two out of the side.

‘In terms of our wingers, I thought Ryan Williams and Ronan were big threats on Saturday. They created a lot and used their pace well into the spaces, which I was pleased with.

‘Hopefully Ronan can now go on a run of good form for the team with assist. Then, ultimately, in our front three get goals, which he is capable of.

‘I don't think he (Harness) necessarily needed a rest. 

‘It never does you any harm to step out the side for one or two games and have a look.

‘It was more a reflection of how Williams and Ronan Curtis were looking.’

Williams, who has now lined-up for Pompey in their last three league games, was especially impressive during the first half as he savours a run in the side.

Meanwhile, a Memorial Stadium outing for Curtis marked his first start since September’s 1-0 win over Bolton.

The Irishman has subsequently seen his place taken by Gareth Evans and Harness.

Jackett added: ‘Both (Williams and Curtis) looked strong on Saturday.

‘It was a very good combination and good header for Ronan. He has to build on it – and hopefully he can.’