Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett 's advice to on-loan Rangers midfield Ross McCrorie - plus verdict on Adam May's Swindon stay
Ross McCrorie has been told: You’re within striking distance of a Pompey starting spot.
But it’s up to the on-loan Rangers midfielder to ensure he breaks his way into Kenny Jackett’s line-up.
Despite moving to Fratton Park on a season-long loan for regular game time, McCrorie’s had to settle for a bit-part role so far.
He hasn’t featured for the Blues in League One for more than a month, while his last of seven appearances arrived during an eight-minute substitute cameo in the south-coast derby defeat to Southampton on September 24.
The Scot has been behind Tom Naylor and Ben Close in the engine-room pecking order.
McCrorie’s lack of action is something Jackett admits the Scottish Premiership leaders won’t be too pleased about.
With Adam May in a similar position at Swindon, though, the Pompey boss knows parent clubs can’t dictate what happens to their players after they depart.
And McCrorie must seize his opportunity when he does get it.
Jackett said: ‘I am convinced in him and believe in him as a person.
‘He needs to keep persevering, work hard in training and, most importantly, when he gets his chance he must take it.
‘No-one wants to be out of the side, everyone wants to play, whoever you are.
‘I’m not saying you should be happy but I do expect a level of professionalism as well. For almost all our players, they're one step from it.
‘Many times this season, there has been 19 players available and that’s what is needed on a match day.
‘Everybody is within striking distance of the team. If you are, you need to make sure you're ready, competing and take your chance.
‘Ross can play in a number of roles and I won’t hesitate to put him in. In recent games I’ve gone with Naylor and Close and they’ve done well for me.
‘I think Rangers, as the parent club, would want him to be playing.
‘Similarly for us, Adam May wasn’t in the squad for Swindon last weekend against Plymouth after playing in the EFL Trophy earlier in the week.
‘Before that, he'd mainly been sub and hasn’t had many opportunities.
‘As a parent club, we can't dictate Swindon have to play Adam May and it’s up to him.
‘They (Rangers) will be the same I'm sure. They would obviously want him playing.’
McCrorie is available for Pompey’s trip to AFC Wimbledon after being away on international duty with Scotland under-21s.
The Dailly-born ace skippered his country in draws with Croatia and Lithuania.
He featured at right-back in both matches – and it's something that’s interested Jackett.
He added: ‘Interestingly, he played at right-back for both of his games for the under-21s.
‘The last time he went away (in September) he played once at centre-back and once at right-back before featuring in central midfield for us (against Burton) and didn’t necessarily have his best game.
‘Perhaps moving that around in one week didn’t help him.
‘It’s interesting how the Scottish guys assessed it and he’s a good player with good character.
‘He will fit in and find a place. He’s come in as a holding midfielder but it’s interesting to see the international group using him in different positions.’