Portsmouth dressing room's shock at news of Kenny Jackett's health concerns

Tom Naylor has told how news of Kenny Jackett’s imminent surgery shocked the Pompey dressing room.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 12:30 pm

And the skipper has explained how the Blues dressing room are motivated to put the Bristol Rovers debacle right for their manager and his team’s promotion ambitions.

Naylor has lifted the lid on how the squad were informed their manager is due to undergo surgery and will step back from front-line duties, hopefully for a period of a couple of weeks.

The players were spoken to about Jackett having a procedure to remove a mole from his forearm on Sunday and that he would be absent, as his side continue their bid to reach the Championship.

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Naylor indicated the squad had been given the same information as was relayed publicly on Monday.

The 29-year-old told how there was obvious concern for their manager, but his private life needed to be respected.

What was certain, however, was there was a groundswell of support from within the Pompey camp for their manager at a difficult time.

Kenny Jackett and Tom Naylor

Naylor said: ‘The gaffer told us on Sunday and we were a bit shocked to be honest, because it’s his health.

‘That’s more important than anything in life.

‘We are right behind him and wish him all the best with his recovery.

‘We want him back as soon as possible.

‘We don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on.

‘He’s told us what he wants to tell us and that’s up to the gaffer.

‘It’s his private life and we wish him all the best.

‘Hopefully he can come back sooner rather than later.’

Even while absent, Naylor explained Jackett’s influence was felt in the decisions made in the 3-1 loss at Bristol Rovers on Tuesday night.

And after coming up woefully short at the Memorial Stadium there’s a hunger to put things right for their absent manager - and get the promotion bid back on track.

Naylor added: ‘The gaffer wasn’t here but he was in contact with Joe all the way through the game.

‘He was telling him at half-time what to do.

‘I know for a fact he wouldn’t have been happy with that performance.

‘We just have to better and stronger.

‘He was relaying messages to Joe and Joe’s making his own decisions as well.

‘He was watching the game and he wouldn’t have been happy, like we’re far from happy.

‘I think we’re motivated to put it right for him, but the motivation is also promotion.

‘It’s there for us, it’s there for everyone.

‘We can’t lose too many from now and have to keep picking up points.’

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