Kenny Jackett on impact of gruelling fixture schedule on Portsmouth promotion bid
Kenny Jackett is adamant his vibrant Pompey side will not be hindered by their gruelling fixture schedule.
Tomorrow night’s Fratton Park clash with Fleetwood represents a mid-week match for the ninth-successive week.
It means that since the League One campaign kicked off on September 12, the Blues would have played 24 times in 95 days.
With the coronavirus crisis delaying the season’s start, fixture congestion has been inevitable, particularly considering the Blues’ cup involvement.
And Jackett is unconcerned by the amount of matches his team are being asked to fulfil.
The Blues boss told The News: ‘It’s a good schedule and good games.
‘I don't really believe it is a problem, I think the players are okay with it. I quite enjoy it myself when there’s a lot of games in a short space of time.
‘There is a bit of travelling in that and accommodation needed, but the way the club looks after us is excellent, so I don’t see it as a problem to be honest with you.
‘And it was always going to be this way this season, you can see that, but generally in the last couple of years we have been used to ‘heavy’ schedules and a lot of games.
‘To a degree we have been used to it because of the high volume of games over the last two seasons, so as a club it has not been anything new.
‘We have been okay. Personally, you think about it as you go along, it’s not a problem, it’s something which is there.
‘It was going to be a busy season this year and it’s the same for all the other teams.
‘The other side of it is that through lockdown, the players had a lot of rest, which is a good thing as well.
‘Football is what they do – and they love playing.’
Jackett has named the same starting XI in the Blues’ last three league matches.
It’s a spell which has seen them produce impressive wins over promotion rivals Peterborough and Ipswich, lifting Pompey into third spot.
And Jackett believes it is testament to those at the club that the players can continue to perform in a testing fixture list.
He added: ‘We have to make sure we are prepared and do everything we possibly can to retain consistency during that period of time.
‘First off, you need good professionals to take the responsibility themselves, that’s the important thing.
‘Then the staff and the facility have to give them every opportunity to maximise their fitness and keep as many people available for the games as possible.’
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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