Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett backs Havant & Waterlooville for promotion push

Pompey midfielder Ben Close in action against the Hawks last season. Picture: Neil Marshall
Pompey midfielder Ben Close in action against the Hawks last season. Picture: Neil Marshall
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Kenny Jackett feels the Hawks will be challenging for an immediate return to the National League ahead of Pompey’s friendly at Westleigh Park.

The Blues continued their summer campaign against Paul Doswell's men tomorrow (3pm). 

Kenny Jackett’s troops will be aiming for another victory after thrashing UCD 11-0 in Dublin on Wednesday.

Certainly they’ll be hoping for a sterner test against the Hawks, who’ve already defeated Alresford and Bognor in the past week. 

Doswell has taken the reins at Westleigh Park with the club in National League South after suffering relegation last season.

However, the ex-Sutton United manager has brought in a bevy of new faces such as former Pompey defender Sam Magri and striker Jonah Ayunga. 

Meanwhile, they've upped their training regime to three days a week.

And Jackett believes the Hawks will firmly be eyeing promotion.

The Blues boss said: ‘Paul will definitely have a good side and they will be strong this season.

‘Paul has got a very good record. This season, they’ll be strong and competitive and will be one of the fancied teams.

‘It does look like they’ve put together a good side already.

‘Havant also have a history of getting out of that league as well before under Lee Bradbury and I’m sure Paul will be aiming for the same. 

‘I don’t know really (if it’ll be more competitive).

‘Obviously, UCD are in the top division in Ireland but as the first goal or two went in, it knocked the stuffing out of them a little bit.

‘The early goals affected them I think.’

The Hawks clash will be Pompey’s second of eight pre-season friendlies ahead of their League One curtain-raiser against Shrewsbury on August 3.

Last season, the Blues won 2-1 with Conor Chaplin and Nathan Thompson both netting.

While it’s against a side three tiers below, Jackett feels the Hawks clash will have big benefits.

He added: ‘We want to work hard and work towards our pre-season towards August.

‘We have a lot of games and want to hit the ground running by building fitness, understanding and confidence.

‘You have to be ready and build towards that.’