Kenny Jackett challenges Matt Casey to break into Portsmouth fray – although Havant & Waterlooville loan a possibility
Kenny Jackett has challenged Matt Casey to break into the Pompey first-team fray during pre-season.
But the boss is hoping to get the fledgling centre-back out on loan and help him continue his promising development.
The academy graduate made three appearances during the Blues’ run to Checkatrade Trophy glory this season, impressing against Arsenal under-21s, Southend and Peterborough.
He also spent a large chunk of the campaign gaining first-team experience at Gosport Borough.
Casey is held in high regard at Fratton Park, with Jackett not only impressed by his performances in the cup and reserves games but the high standards he sets in training.
The Botley talent is likely to have another spell away from Pompey next term.
But Jackett still wants Casey to ‘rise to the challenge’ and try to become a member of his side that'll again be pushing for League One promotion.
The Blues manager said: ‘I really like Matt and I think he is a player who will continue to progress.
‘His games this season, certainly against Southend and Peterborough in the Checkatrade, and in the under-23 games he has played he's done well. The bigger the game, the better he has played.
‘The standard of his training has also been very good.
‘Whenever he has trained with us, which has been the majority of the time, his best sessions have been when he’s been with the better players.
‘He’s a little bit gangly at the moment but is a nice striker of the ball and has good distribution. Obviously, in that position, being 6ft 7in helps.
‘He definitely has a future and we want to keep developing the right players through our youth players who we can give chances and opportunities.
'I do think next season he will get chances and opportunities.
‘Matt has got good composure. He reads the game and he is calm. He doesn’t get flustered and make bad decisions. He has a good consistency about him.
‘If you’re looking at the goalkeeping and centre-half positions then it's not good to be erratic Matt is quite calm in his decisions and he is calm and capable in his distribution as well.
‘I think we’ll see, as with all young players, how he is in pre-season. He’ll get some game-times in our pre-season games and will be with us, definitely.
‘If we’re then strong enough to loan him out then that would be great.
‘Firstly, he has to enjoy and rise to the challenge of being a Portsmouth player in the first few weeks because you never know what might happen.’
Casey’s three loan stints last season – at Gosport, Weymouth and Basingstoke – all came in the Southern League premier division south.
However, Pompey are hoping to move the youngster up the pyramid.
A switch to the Hawks in National League South could be a possibility.
But Jackett isn’t ruling out finding Casey a National League side.
He added: ‘I was surprised I couldn’t get him loans any higher.
‘I think that will change next season because he looks ideal for the levels we're trying to get him in at.
‘Havant have just gone down or maybe the National League – those are the possibilities.
‘But he has to concentrate doing the best he can to get into the team here.’