Kenny Jackett on a key factor that'll help Portsmouth find 'winning equation'

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Kenny Jackett is hoping he can finally settle down Pompey’s defence.

The boss has struggled to find a regular back four during the Blues’ stuttering start to the League One season.

To date, Jackett has used six different centre-back partnerships in all competitions – and five in the division, while four players have featured in a right-back role. 

Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett were the latest pair to play in the heart of the rearguard during the victory over Bolton on Saturday.

With James Bolton and Brandon Haunstrup operating on each flank, they helped yield a first clean sheet in 50 days in the 1-0 success.

That combination is likely to remain the same for the trip to Doncaster this weekend. 

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

And Jackett’s looking to find an established defence that can give the foundation for 19th-placed Pompey to start climbing the table.

The manager said: ‘We want to settle the whole team down and settle the back four down, always.

‘I do think sometimes your substitutions come around the front three or four depending on what formation you play.

‘You always want a consistent back four as a manager.

‘If we can get to that successful, consistent back four then it's part of a winning equation.’

Raggett came in for just his fifth appearance against Bolton and second League One outing.

He replaced Oli Hawkins, who’d performed superbly in the defeat at Wycombe, before limping off with a foot injury when playing just as well in the 4-0 south-coast derby defeat to Southampton last week.

The ex-Dagenham & Redbridge man is sidelined for between 4-6 weeks. 

Paul Downing is another centre-half option for Jackett, although he was left out of the match-day squad to face the Trotters.

That’s because the Pompey boss believes Burgess is at his best when he’s complemented by a commanding presence alongside him – a criteria Raggett fulfils. 

Jackett added: ‘I do think Christian is best playing off a big, dominant centre-half.  He’s done well during my time here, Christian Burgess, and did well on Saturday.

‘He should take gain confidence from it.’

‘Hawkins will be out for at least four weeks and I thought I’d bring one big man in for another.

‘Hopefully (we can) settle the side down and they can build and get some confidence.

‘It’s been a frustrating time for Sean through injury and he’ll gain some confidence being part of a back four that kept a clean sheet on Saturday.

‘He needs a run to get to his best, which we all do.’