They're Portsmouth's best centre-half pairing - and are ready to finally be reunited against Ipswich

Meet Pompey’s most effective centre-half partnership this season.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:30 am

And Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett are likely to resume their defensive double-act for the visit of second-placed Ipswich on Saturday.

Kenny Jackett has named eight different central-defensive pairings in 28 matches in all competitions this season.

That’s in contrast to just four partnerships in 62 fixtures last term, as the Blues finished fourth and claimed the Checkatrade Trophy.

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Unavailability robbed Pompey’s manager of the services of Burgess (suspension) and Oli Hawkins (partner had given birth) for last weekend’s trip to Accrington, matters beyond his control.

As a consequence, Raggett was restored to the side, with Tom Naylor dropping back from midfield to partner him for the first time this season.

The Crown Ground outcome was a 4-1 defeat – the Blues’ heaviest in the league for almost six years.

Now Burgess is back from suspension, presenting Jackett with the option of restoring the long-serving player alongside Raggett.

There was disappointment after Oxford's late equaliser in November's 2-2 draw, but Sean Raggett and Christian Burgess have been the most effective centre-half partnership for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

That pairing has seen action on nine occasions this season, in all competitions.

Their return of seven goals conceded and three clean sheets sets them significantly apart from the other seven partnerships utilised by the Blues this term.

The last time they lined up together was at Harrogate Town in the FA Cup, when Raggett was forced off through injury in the first half.

In the subsequent six matches, the duo have yet to resume that defensive connection, with Pompey conceding 10 goals.

Jackett started the campaign with Paul Downing and Burgess, registering two clean sheets and conceding three goals in four matches.

Downing and Raggett were then paired, with three matches yielding four goals and one clean sheet.

Next up was Naylor and Downing for three games, shipping in three times and recording one clean sheet.

In the Leasing.com Trophy, there was Hawkins/Raggett in a 3-1 win over Norwich under-21s, while Downing and Brandon Haunstrup were involved in the 2-2 draw at Oxford.

Finally, the partnership of Burgess and Hawkins has been employed on six occasions, leaking 10 goals and establishing one clean sheet.

With one clean sheet in their last 10 matches, how Jackett needs a solution.

Then again, with Burgess and Raggett, the statistics suggest he already has.