Portsmouth have opportunity to postpone Gillingham clash - but calculated risk of fulfilling fixture looks better option

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It’s another decision Kenny Jackett has to weigh up and determine what would be best in the long run.

For consecutive months, Ronan Curtis (Republic of Ireland), Craig MacGillivray (Scotland) and Ross McCrorie (Scotland under-21s) have been called up for international duty.

That means Pompey can postpone their League One clash against Gillingham on Saturday, October 12.

Jackett took up that option last month because of the trio’s international involvement, with the clash against Southend on September 7 being rearranged for Tuesday November 5.

The Blues boss will probably reach a conclusion after this Saturday's trip to Doncaster, depending on whether there’re any new injuries or suspensions. 

He has until Monday to inform the Football League. 

League Division 1 - Portsmouth vs Burton Albion - 17/09/2019'Portsmouths Ross McCrorie Portsmouths Craig MacGillivray

League Division 1 - Portsmouth vs Burton Albion - 17/09/2019'Portsmouths Ross McCrorie Portsmouths Craig MacGillivray

But you’d have to think Jackett will want to fulfil the fixture with the Gills.

After all, he was keen to face Southend, before the thigh injury picked up by Marcus Harness at Blackpool put paid to those plans.

In addition, Pompey have already played up to three fewer games than some of their rivals – having also had to postpone August's Fratton Park encounter with Rotherham because of Victorious Festival and the trip to Bury on September 14 axed after the Shakers were expelled from the Football League. 

Jackett’s troops currently languish 19th in the table after a stuttering start.

While they’d have as many as four matches in hand, Pompey's league position would give the impression they're engulfed further into danger and create more frustrations among the sections of supporters who have doubts over the boss

A fixture pile-up is the last thing the Blues want. 

And in truth, they could make do without the trio against a Gillingham side who’ve collected 10 points from as many games. 

It’d only be MacGillivray guaranteed to start against Steve Evans’ men.

There are two stoppers already at Fratton Park who're certainly capable of deputising, however. 

Alex Bass is currently No2 and Jackett’s said he’d have no fears if the academy graduate is required to make just a second Football League appearance.

It’s crucial Bass can see there’s a pathway at PO4 and that he’s trusted to play in the most important matches rather being restricted to EFL Trophy outings.

Then there’s Luke McGee, who has 100 league games under his belt and performed superbly for the reserves at Doncaster last week.

Curtis, meanwhile, has suffered a jettison in form this season.

Taken off on 62 minutes against Bolton on Saturday following another disappointing display, which was greeted by sarcastic cheers, the winger’s confidence looks shot.

Surely he’ll be taken out of the firing line for the visit to Doncaster, with Marcus Harness likely to come into the starting line-up after inspiring the Blues to success during his cameo in the win over the Trotters.

But it’ll need more than just one game on the bench to rejuvenate Curtis and work back towards reaching the heights he’s capable of. 

As for McCrorie, his loan spell has garnered mixed reviews so far.

An impressive pre-season campaign was followed up with a red card in the opening-day defeat at Shrewsbury, a man-of-the-match display at QPR backed up by an erratic outing against Burton. 

Despite arriving with a lofty reputation on loan from Rangers, McCrorie’s featured just seven times for the Blues.

He was an unused sub against Bolton, with Tom Naylor and Ben Close ahead in the midfield pecking order.

The caveat to Pompey playing Gillingham is they could drop points and they rejected the chance to rearrange the fixture and have a full-strength squad available.

It’s a decision that’ll draw criticism either way – but a calculated risk could pay dividends down the line.