Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett names the one player he knows he can't replace

Kenny Jackett admitted Pompey would struggle to replace key man Tom Naylor.

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 6:00 am

The Blues boss doesn’t see a like-for-like replacement for his captain in his current squad options.

Jackett acknowledged his midfield hasn’t looked right when Naylor's combative qualities have been absent from it, but he does feel he could dovetail two of his options effectively there in the event of an injury to his skipper.

He said: ‘Tom is a key one but if we did lose him I still think there’s good combinations.

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‘There isn’t necessarily a like-for-like replacement, though.

‘Ross (McCrorie) for me is being considered at right-back but has played in midfield.

‘Sometimes you can try other combinations of players. You may lose something but gain something somewhere else.

‘We were very open against Accrington. We changed the back four but it was very open in midfield.

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com

‘The set-up wasn’t compact enough or competitive enough.

‘Since then we’ve gone a different direction in terms of team selection.

‘Tom has been a really good midfielder for us.

‘If you lose a player you have to adapt. If he wasn’t around there’s combinations of Close, McGeehan, Cannon and Evans and Ross has experience in front of the back four.’

Pompey captain Tom Naylor

Naylor has been a constant presence in the Pompey starting XI again this term with an injury picked up at Harrogate in the FA Cup in November enforcing his only absence.

The 28-year-old has been used as a defender on occasions, too, but Jackett accepted taking his qualities out of the middle of the park has hurt his side.

He added: ‘When we haven’t had Tom Naylor in midfield we haven’t looked quite right.

‘Sometimes he’ll miss one or two games and there was one or two when we were struggling so he played centre-half.

‘But our midfield didn’t look quite the same without him and that’s quite a compliment to Tom.

‘He’s our captain and an important player for us.

‘Quelling counter-attacks is a big part of his game and he’s very good at it.

‘He’s a consistent player who gives everything in every game. He does bring a professionalism and attitude to the rest of the group.

‘He’s carried on his consistency really and I do see him as a key component to our success in our holding-midfield role.

‘Then maybe we’re trying to balance off around him to give a complement.’