Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett considering extending Tom Naylor centre-half experiment

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett is weighing up another centre-half outing for Tom Naylor.

Friday, 26th July 2019, 6:30 am
Preseason Friendly - Stevenage v Portsmouth - 20/07/2019 Portsmouth’s Tom Naylor

The Blues boss has experimented with the midfielder partnering Paul Downing in the centre of defence during the past two first-team outings.

The pair served alongside each other at Stevenage, while featured as a pairing for 45 minutes in the behind-closed-doors fixture at Brighton.

That positional switch has allowed Jackett to field Ross McCrorie with Ben Close in Pompey’s two holding-midfield roles.

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And he is contemplating Naylor remaining in defence for Saturday’s latest friendly at Crawley.

Jackett said: ‘We kept him there for the Brighton game, part of it anyway.

‘I see Tom as an option at left centre-back and also see him as an option in centre midfield.

‘I wouldn’t hesitate to move him from one to the other, I think he brings a lot to the team in either position.

Preseason Friendly - Stevenage v Portsmouth - 20/07/2019 Portsmouth’s Tom Naylor

‘In recent games I’ve wanted to look at McCrorie and Close as a partnership, while have put him with Paul Downing. I am not saying he is just going to play at the back, it’s either or.

‘We will see (if Naylor plays at the back against Crawley), I haven’t told the players yet what the team is, but he will certainly be playing on Saturday, whether that’s central defence or central midfield.

‘I once saw him play as a left-sided centre-half at Burton, he was excellent. I’ve always felt he could play there.

‘We also have Sean Raggett and Christian Burgess. We want to be strong and experienced, it’s not a position you can get wrong.’