Kenny Jackett: Why I didn’t gamble in pursuit of late Portsmouth win at Sunderland

The victory Pompey craved didn’t emerge, yet Kenny Jackett reasoned he was correct not to gamble.

Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:19 am
Updated Monday, 29th April 2019, 10:23 am
Pompey benefited more from a draw than Sunderland as the promotion battle enters the final week. Picture: Joe Pepler

Automatic promotion remains a possibility following Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland.

However, finishing in League One’s top two is now out of the Blues’ hands, reliant on either Luton or Barnsley dropping points on the final day.

Still, a hard-earned point at the Stadium of Light benefited the visitors more than Jack Ross’ side.

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Pompey benefited more from a draw than Sunderland as the promotion battle enters the final week. Picture: Joe Pepler

Jackett introduced Oli Hawkins and Gareth Evans off the bench during the second half, but had an unused substitute at the final whistle.

And Pompey’s boss explained why he resisted launching a late blitz for victory.

He said: ‘People ask about going for the win, but I didn’t necessarily see where I could have.

‘I didn’t want to take Lowe and Pitman off, while both Evans and Hawkins have made big impressions before.

‘I also really didn't want to change my system at this late stage of the season when we have been very consistent.

‘So there wasn’t necessarily another move in there.

‘Brett was quite quiet, obviously, but you always know there is a moment that can win the game, like against Coventry last Monday.

‘For me, I don’t feel there was an opportunity to throw caution without opening things up or disturbing the system for an attacking process.

‘If it wasn’t going to be the case, and with one or two challenges and them putting pressure on the referee, it was a tough call to do.

‘We are pleased with a point, we showed great resolve, great resolution, we battled well.

‘Obviously I would have loved for it to have been more (points), but I don’t think we deserved that because, going forward, we couldn’t really create the chances we normally do.’

For the trip to the Stadium of Light, Jackett thrust James Vaughan into the first-team in place of Hawkins for a maiden Pompey start,

It also occurred against the club he left in January 2018, with home fans booing his presence at every opportunity.

The Blues boss added: ‘James played well when he came on against Coventry and I was pleased with him at Sunderland.

‘He came off for Oli on 57 minutes, but couldn’t quite get any momentum going.

‘Selection was a really close one. They did 45 minutes each against Coventry – and with James I thought against his old club we could see what he could do.’