Portsmouth boss backs under-fire midfield pairing to continue with defensive approach

Kenny Jackett believes his under-fire midfield duo have the right attributes to be a success for Pompey.

Friday, 2nd October 2020, 12:00 pm
Updated Friday, 2nd October 2020, 12:08 pm

Jackett has to decide whether to continue with his preferred central duo in his 4-2-3-1 formation, as his side search for their first league win at Burton Albion this weekend.

Ben Close is pushing for inclusion, while Andy Cannon is an alternative option in that area for the Pompey boss.

Naylor and Morris have been utilised in every game so far this term, after being matched up in last season’s play-off games

But Jackett believes they are doing what’s necessary to help the attack in other areas.

He said: ‘They’ve been solid, but as a side you’re encouraged by winning games.

Bryn Morris and Tom Naylor

‘I do think they’ve been solid in the six games we’ve played so far.

‘They’re solid and I do feel in that system you’re playing your game to allow other people to go forward. That’s important.

‘Morris, Naylor, Close and Cannon are the options. They are all slightly different players, but they have experience of playing in midfield.

‘Some are more attacking than others there, but they are who I can pick depending on what the rest of the side looks like.

‘We certainly want that pair in there to compete and be positionally aware.

‘We do feel then they can bring the full-backs out and encourage them to affect the game down the sides with the winger.

‘The two there at moment can do that, as can Ben and Andy.’

The prospect of Cannon in a deeper role would give Pompey more of a forward-thinking option with his passing than Morris or Naylor.

Close brings more progressive passing ability, with the current pairing more destructive in their attributes.

Jackett’s decision to stick with Morris and Naylor, means the Southsea lad has been restricted to just 10 minutes of first-team football this season.

He added: ‘Ben’s not had too much of a look in, but is pushing hard and pushing hard for a start.

‘He has had a good pre-season and not missed any time.

‘So he’s pushing hard for a start now.

‘I’ve spoken to him and he knows he’s in the plans.

‘He’s substitute and would love to get into the starting XI. He has a good attitude and will keep pushing.

‘He’s unlucky not to be in the side, but it’s early in the season. He has to keep pushing - he’ll get his chance.’

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