Portsmouth boss 'open-minded' on keeper battle as he lifts lid on reasons for surprise Gillingham selection

Kenny Jackett has revealed the reasons for his surprise selection shouts at Gillingham.

Thursday, 2nd January 2020, 6:00 am

And Jackett also made the shout to bring Gareth Evans back into the team for Andy Cannon, as he was given his first league start for two months.

MacGillivray’s absence fuelled more speculation about his future as the January transfer window opens, with the 26-year-old linked with a move to Scottish giants Rangers.

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He said: ‘We’ve got a lot of confidence in Alex, in terms of what he’s doing - as we have with Craig.

‘It’s a good department for us so, whatever one we choose, we think we’re quite strong there.

‘We’ll see how it goes now moving forward.

Alex Bass. Picture: Jason Brown

‘We go to Fleetwood in the FA Cup and then Walsall. With the amount of games you need to change players. It’s unrealistic to expect it to be the same 11 and for them to just keep going.

‘Alex is a good keeper but Craig has been very consistent and he’s been excellent for us.

‘I’m open-minded about the position and as a manager I’ve got confidence in both of them.

‘I’m confident in both of them even if they are at slightly different stages of their careers.

‘There’s five years difference but they are good goalkeepers and it’s a good department for us, whatever one we use. I have confidence in them.’

Jackett revealed Evans high-tempo play and defensive qualities were the key factors in the 31-year-old getting the nod to start at Priestfield.

But it was the Blues stalwart’s attacking play which shone as he grabbed his fifth goal of the season in a man-of-the-match performance.

Jackett acknowledged it’s been a frustrating period for Evans but he has maintained his professionalism through his wait for a league start.

He added: ‘I felt Gareth could give us fresh energy in one of those midfield slots.

‘With Close, Naylor and Evans away from home it’s been pretty consistent from me as a manager.

‘He helps us in terms of closing players down and getting clean sheets.

‘But I’ve got to say it was an excellent goal. He took it really well.

‘The keeper made a very good save from him early on from inside the box.

‘But in terms of the goal the keeper had no chance.

‘It was a good performance from him after perhaps a frustrating spell out of the team.

‘Again, you always want to play. I always say to players, okay be frustrated - but be ready.

‘Football changes quickly and you have to be ready for your opportunity both mentally and physically. Gareth was that and I was very pleased with him.’