Kenny Jackett lifts lid on Portsmouth reserve-team proposals

Pompey will see how the post-coronavirus landscape lies before committing a reserve team into a league next season.

Tuesday, 14th April 2020, 5:00 pm

Kenny Jackett confirmed the Blues had been exploring the idea of entering a side in the Central League South before the Covid-19 outbreak put the plans on ice.

A new under-23s group, wouldn't be created to fulfil fixtures – as is the case at many other clubs.

Instead, a combination of fringe players and youngsters would be handed game time in order to gain match fitness and impress.

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This campaign, Pompey have had just 10 reserve fixtures in the Central League, Premier League and Hampshire Senior cups, with several taking place on the same night as first-team matches.

But should a Blues reserve team be granted entry into a league format, they'd be guaranteed 12 additional fixtures.

The financial ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic will be taken into consideration before a decision is taken.

But Jackett admitted other facets will also be factored in.

Reeco Hackett-Fairchild

The Pompey boss said: ‘We were talking about different fixture programmes and going into one fixture programme that gives you 12 league games and four cup games.

‘It is an old-fashioned reserve league. The sides in it range from MK Dons down to the West Country and then sweeping around the south coast.

‘There wouldn't be too much travelling and a limited amount of games of maybe a dozen throughout the season.

‘It wouldn't necessarily mean creating a third group. The main reason was for the players not playing in the first team to get some game time.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Graham Hunt

‘Maybe to some degree substitutes who haven't been able to play can, with a sprinkling of the best young players.

‘It was the hope but it is how the landscape looks.

‘Finances will be the part of it but it is one of those things we have to wait and see how things come out.

'Finances won’t be at the top of making that decision but it is something we talked about and quite rightly put on hold because of the coronavirus.’

More frequent reserve matches would help several Pompey players.

One is Reeco Hackett-Fairchild, who has made just a solitary appearance since arriving from Bromley in January.

Duncan Turnbull, who signed in March as third-choice keeper and will also need minutes.

Jackett added: ‘That is what we were looking at before.

‘When we come out of the other side, if there is something along those lines then we’ll go for it.

‘It’s a natural progression from myself, Mark Catlin and the youth department.’