Portsmouth boss tells how he plans to help players as gruelling run continues at Fleetwood

Kenny Jackett is weighing up FA Cup changes as he considers the impact of a gruelling festive period on his squad.

Friday, 3rd January 2020, 12:00 pm

The Pompey boss is wary of his players becoming fatigued as his side get ready for the long third round trip to Fleetwood on Saturday.

The Blues are averaging a game every two-and-a-half days over Christmas, amid seven fixtures in 18 days from the victory over Ipswich on December 21 to the EFL Trophy trip to Walsall next Tuesday.

Jackett is keen to once again take cup competitions seriously and has consistently put strong teams out in the FA Cup in his time at Fratton Park.

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But the Pompey boss feels that has to be balanced up with the demands an intense period of games and the travelling which comes with it is putting on his available players.

Jackett underlined he’s got confidence in anyone he promotes from the subs’ bench at Highbury Stadium.

He said: ‘I haven’t decided for Saturday yet.

Pompey's players have faced a busy Christmas schedule. Picture: Nigel Keene/ProSportsImages

‘I’ll see what type of knocks I’ve got, but I do feel when you’ve got a lot of games in a short space of time it’s the right thing to do, if you feel confident with the players coming in.

‘Also, as well as that, there’s been quite a bit of travelling.

‘We’ve got Fleetwood now in the Cup, a big competition, and we want to do well in that.

‘Then, somehow in the southern section of the Leasing.com we’ve got Walsall away.

‘That doesn’t feel too local but the group will be ready for it. It’s two competitions we’ll be ready for.’

Jackett doesn’t see his squad being boosted by any returning players this weekend.

Jack Whatmough (knee), Ryan Williams (groin), Lee Brown (Achilles), Ross McCrorie (hamstring) and Brandon Haunstrup (knee) were missing at Gillingham with Bryn Morris (abdomen) no nearer an end to his long-term problems.

That meant youngster Haji Mnoga was on the bench at Priestfield after making a return from his own foot injury.

With that number of players sidelined, Jackett feels he’s slightly limited in the changes he can make.

The Pompey boss expects to be selecting from the same group of players for the next two games.

He added: ‘I don’t think Saturday will be wholesale changes and I’ll look at Tuesday when it comes. I haven’t decided yet.

‘But we haven’t got that much in terms of a group. Everyone we’ve got was at Gillingham.

‘There’s young lads like Haji (Mnoga) coming back from injury and after that we’ve got 16 senior (players).

‘Maybe there’s a point where one of the subs step in and one of the other boys come out.

‘For both games, though, it will be pretty much the same group.’