Portsmouth's decision on Southend game will be met with criticism either way
It’s a scenario that’s split the verdict of the Fratton faithful.
Kenny Jackett is currently mulling over whether to postpone Pompey’s League One clash with Southend next weekend.
The Blues will be without Craig MacGillivray, Ross McCrorie and Ronan Curtis after respectively being called up for international duty with Scotland, Scotland under-21s and the Republic of Ireland.
Pompey can rearrange the clash should they wish and a decision will be made in the coming days.
It’s a quandary for Jackett – and either outcome will be met by criticism.
In truth, there are strong cases to both go ahead with the fixture or delay it.
Some feel it should be played given the calibre of opposition. If there was a team to face when players are unavailable, bar Bolton, it’s Southend.
The Shrimpers have endured a nightmare start to the campaign.
They’ve lost all five of their league matches, which has piled the pressure on manager Kevin Bond’s position.
With all that in mind, you’d expect the Blues to have the quality and depth to deliver three points – even if under strength.
It’s unlikely Ryan Williams will be fit enough to feature, although there’s hope he’ll be involved against Crawley in the Leasing.com Trophy on Tuesday.
Yet Gareth Evans could replace Curtis on the left flank. After all, it was the fans' favourite who changed the Wembley final against Sunderland in that role.
Alex Bass has just four senior appearances – and a solitary league outing – under his belt but would be required to line up between the posts.
MacGillivray has been a quality addition since his arrival from Shrewsbury last summer and deservedly earned a spot in Scotland’s set-up.
However, it’s a situation Jackett must have been braced for at some stage.
The boss hasn’t signed a senior keeper to be his No2 this summer.
But the most significant factor Jackett will be worried about down the line is a potential fixture pile-up.
Pompey already need to fulfil one match after Rotherham’s trip to Fraton Park last week was postponed because of Victorious Festival.
With the Leasing.com Trophy soon to start, as well as a south-coast derby against Southampton in the Carabao Cup later this month, it’d mean another Tuesday night game to fulfil.
What’s more, with Bury being expelled from the Football League, the Blues would go two weeks without a game now the trip to Gigg Lane on September 14 is off.
With Jackett craving his troops build impetus after a staggered opening to the campaign, he'd be hampering that opportunity.
However, there are caveats to playing the Southend fixture.
The Shrimpers shouldn’t be taken lightly – as fans only know that too well after throwing away a three-goal lead at Roots Hall last term.
Moreover, if Pompey were to drop points then supporters will only beg the question: why the game wasn’t postponed?
What if Bass makes a costly error? What if the Blues miss Curtis’ guile or McCrorie's energy?
Should Jackett’s side narrowly miss out on promotion, it’s a game fans would quickly point the finger towards if three points aren't yielded.
Some would plead the risk is simply not worth taking.
The Pompey boss will make the decision he feels is best for his side in the long term.
Either way, though, there'll be fans who don't agree.