Brett Pitman will be ‘champing at the bit’ when he’s unleashed on Burton Albion.
That’s the verdict of Kenny Jackett, who revealed the forward is set to make his first start of the season against the Brewers tomorrow night.
It’s been a frustrating opening to the campaign for Pitman.
He’s featured five times in total but all of them have been off the bench, while he was removed of the Blues captaincy and replaced by Tom Naylor earlier this month.
Pitman netted his maiden goal of the campaign in his last cameo appearance against Crawley.
And after being an unused substitute in the 3-1 win over Norwich under-21s in the Leasing.com Trophy on Saturday, he’ll now be rewarded with an appearance from the outset against Nigel Clough’s in-form side.
Pitman’s earmarked to operate in his favoured number-10 role against Burton and Jackett believes the former AFC Bournemouth man will be determined to grasp the opportunity.
The Pompey boss said: ‘Brett would have wanted to have played against Norwich but it’s pretty obvious I’m saving him up.
‘With the side I played, you can probably see the side that will play on Tuesday night.
‘For Brett, I’m pleased with what he’s done and what he's done lately.
‘He will be champing at the bit. Now we have games Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday and they’re big games, so hopefully he can do well in the big games.
‘He will get his opportunities with some games coming up.
‘Brett’s played in the number-10 position for most of his career and that's been a strength of his.
‘We’ve constructed the squad, with John Marquis and Ellis Harrison coming in, so Brett can compete in the number-10 position. It’s his preferred role and more natural role.
‘Particularly at the start of last season, I don’t think Brett going right up front worked that well and he was asking to come slightly deeper.
‘His competitors are Gareth Evans and Andy Cannon. How will he combine with a different number nine this season? We’ll find out.’
Pitman frequently glanced at the dugout when warming up against Norwich in the hope of being introduced.
But playing in League One games is what the 31-year-old ultimately covets.
Jackett added: ‘In terms of the number-10 spot, I felt we needed a bit more control in that position because we’d worked hard for that position and I didn’t want to give it away.
‘Ben Close went into midfield and it helped us in the last 20 minutes with a bit more control.
‘We didn’t want any slip-ups and wanted to get through that period.
‘Brett will want to play but he would want to play in the big games more.’