Life's no beach for Portsmouth under testing Dublin training regime

Pompey's squad undertook circuit work during the afternoon training session in Dublin
Pompey's squad undertook circuit work during the afternoon training session in Dublin
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There was no pounding the golden Portmarnock beach under glorious sunshine, not on this day.

Pompey’s outfield players had participated in a long-distance run across the sands following Sunday morning’s arrival in Dublin.

In the meantime, keepers Craig MacGillivray and Alex Bass were elsewhere, involved in their own training regimes, centring on the football pitch.

Still, on Monday, the squad headed to the Gannon Park playing surface of Malahide United, under cloud cover and threatening skies.

Kenny Jackett’s 23-man squad was noticeably lacking Ryan Williams, grounded at home following pulling up with a quad injury last week.

Yet the remaining five fresh faces recruited this summer were all present for a one-and-a-half hour session in which Louis Dennis, in particular, caught the eye.

The 26-year-old has so far been denied regular first-team appearances during a Fratton Park presence which has now stretched beyond its anniversary.

It remains a subject of bemusement among some supporters, who have been impressed during Dennis’ brief outings, many fans craving more glimpses.

Still, the former Bromley attacker was bright and offered some sublime touches in a number 10 role during the customary 11v11 match introduced midway through proceedings.

Pompey have received enquiries for Dennis, as admitted by Kenny Jackett, yet word has it the subject of their attention is enjoying an impressive early pre-season – Monday was no one-off.

Elsewhere, intriguingly a back four of James Bolton, Paul Downing, Sean Raggett and Lee Brown lined-up as a defensive unit.

Potentially a glimpse at Jackett’s favoured rearguard in the season ahead, although on Friday it was Anton Walkes who featured at right-back rather than Bolton.

Other partnerships rolled out were Ben Close and Bryn Morris as the holding-midfield pair for the pinks, with Tom Naylor matched with Ross McCrorie for the non-bibs.

Meanwhile, Andy Cannon roamed as a 10 in one of the sides, while Gareth Evans popped up on the right flank.

Watching from the sidelines was the unfortunate 23rd player, Joe Hancott, the left-back asked to step in following untimely Williams’ injury.

Having returned to their Portmarnock Hotel base, the afternoon session offered variety to a day which had kicked-off at 10am.

This involved circuits, with the squad utilising weights and gym equipment transported from the south coast by Kev McCormack in his trusty white van.

For some players, the links golf course was a popular draw for the remainder of the day, while non-golfer MacGillivray roamed the hotel seeking company, always keen for a conversation.

According to Jackett, there could well be a return to the Portmarnock beach before Friday’s return.

An infinitely preferable option to the Eastney shingle.