Portsmouth boss addresses Ronan Curtis and Michael Jacobs' intriguing selection battle

Kenny Jackett has pinpointed Michael Jacobs’ re-emergence to ramp up attacking competition.

Wednesday, 30th December 2020, 6:00 am
Michael Jacobs has appeared as a substitute in each of Pompey's last three matches as he seeks to force his way back into the side following injury. Picture: Joe Pepler

But Pompey’s boss is adamant the former Wigan man can play alongside Ronan Curtis rather than dislodging him.

Jacobs returned from a 12-game absence earlier this month following a knee injury collected at Sunderland in October.

At the time he occupied the left-wing berth, as a consequence relegating Curtis to the bench.

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Still, in Jacob’s absence, the Republic of Ireland international re-established himself in the Blues side, rattling in five goals for League One’s joint-top scorers.

Now both are fit and available, with Pompey back in action on Saturday when they make the trip to Accrington.

But Jackett doesn’t necessarily believe it’s a straight choice.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘Michael’s fine. He’s fit and before the latest covid outbreak was pretty settled and playing well.

‘He recovered well from his injury, it could have been a lot worse because it was a pretty bad tackle at Sunderland.

‘You need a good squad, good subs, things can change week to week, as we’ve just seen recently. Things change.

‘We know we have a good player there who will work hard to get the shirt and then do everything he can to try to keep it.

‘Michael is different to Ronan, but capable of playing in a few attacking roles – certainly he’s capable of playing with Ronan.

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‘I think he can play off the striker or on the right or the left. So they can be together in the team.

‘Whoever’s playing, you need some depth, you need competition because it is Portsmouth Football Club, but you also need good substitutes.’

Since joining as a free agent in September, Jacobs has made 10 appearances, scoring once.

Of his five starts, just two have come alongside Curtis, with the pair generally competing for selection on the left-hand side of midfield.

In terms of the Irishman, since arriving at Fratton Park in the summer of 2018, he has successfully seen off a number of threats to his position, including Viv Solomon-Otabor, Andre Green and Gareth Evans.

Jacobs is the latest to bare his teeth and is regarded by Jackett as a player better suited to the machinations of a 4-4-2.

Since the former Wolves man has returned to fitness, he has made three appearances off the bench, replacing Curtis for two of them.

And Jackett is delighted to possess the choice within a squad standing second in League One as it heads into 2021.

He added: ‘Nobody wants to be a substitute, but we do need a bit of depth in forward positions to be able to change if it’s not going well.

‘Michael’s a good player, with a proven track record, he’s a good character and very good team man.’

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