Kenny Jackett explains why Portsmouth turned down Bristol Rovers striker Jonah Ayunga

Kenny Jackett has explained why Pompey turned down a move for Jonah Ayunga.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 7:00 am

The striker enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 season at near-neighbours Hawks.

Ayunga plundered 24 goals in 41 games in all competitions as the Westleigh Park outfit suffered National League South play-off semi-final defeat to Dartford last month.

Following that loss, the ex-Brighton forward joined Pompey's League One rivals Bristol Rovers for an undisclosed fee.

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Jackett felt Ayunga wasn't quite ready to make an instant impact at Fratton Park, however, with Ellis Harrison and John Marquis the senior recognised options.

The Pompey boss said: ‘We scout a lot of players during the course of the season.

‘We did scout him and he would have been coming into a position where we already have established players.

Jonah Ayunga in action for the Hawks against Pompey during pre-season last summer. Picture: Dave Haines

‘We'll see (if we bring in another striker).

‘In terms of the front three, we have Ellis Harrison John Marquis, Ronan Curtis, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, Marcus Harness and Ryan Williams.

‘Those are our options at the minute.’

That’s not a position Jackett would consider utilising the Republic of Ireland international, though.

Curtis will remain on the left wing where he recorded 14 goals last term.

Instead, Jackett would turn to Reeco Hackett-Fairchild to lead the line if Harrison and Marquis were injured.

Jackett added: ‘I think Ronan feels comfortable left of the front three. He's certainly got the physicality (to lead the line) but it's whether he's got the understanding.

‘It's not something I've ever asked him to do too much or has been called upon too much. He's almost exclusively played left of the front three.

‘Reeco has played up front for the reserves and I think he's comfortable in all three positions across the front line.’