Portsmouth man saluted as he makes mark on biggest day of career

Kenny Jackett lauded Louis Dennis’ emergence on the biggest day of his career.

Saturday, 26th January 2019, 10:10 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 7:16 pm
Louis Dennis joins Lee Brown and his team-mates to celebrate the opener against QPR. Photo by Joe Pepler/Digital South.

The Pompey boss felt the winger was a big plus point as he pitted his wits against Championship opposition in the shape of QPR.

Dennis was making his first start for the Blues outside of the Checkatrade Trophy, after a promising maiden league cameo in the loss at Oxford United.

The 26-year-old overcame a tough opening to deliver a much-improved display after the break in the 1-1 draw at Fratton Park.

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Louis Dennis joins Lee Brown and his team-mates to celebrate the opener against QPR. Photo by Joe Pepler/Digital South.

Jackett felt Dennis’ confidence and belief grew as he more than held his own against second-tier opposition.

He said: ‘It was a big game for him. The biggest of his career, I would have thought.

‘I thought he was nervous first half and it was tough for him to get into it.

‘There were a few loose passes which went astray.

‘But I thought he showed some good footwork in the second half.

‘I think he will take confidence out of that as a person and it’s something he can build on as a player.

‘He’s come into a very good game at a good standard.

‘Last year he was playing in the National League.

‘The second half against Jack Bidwell he should take belief from and determination to do well.

‘He has good footwork and enough ability to do well.’

Jackett called on Pompey to show more belief at the break of a lively Cup tie, and the momentum swung the home side’s way after the interval.

That was a positive for Jackett, although the own-goal opener from Joel Lynch after 63 minutes was cancelled out by Nahki Wells nine minutes later.

Jackett added: ‘We needed to get the ball into wide areas and instead of checking out and crossing, perhaps go for them a bit more in one v one situations.

‘We didn’t want to let them into it.

‘We recycled the ball and built up well in the second period.

‘Technically we grew in confidence.

‘At times in the first half we showed an uncertainty and lack of confidence and belief.

‘That does happen when changes are made to a settled team.

‘But we came through that in the second half and several people had better spells, albeit without great cutting edge.’

Pompey now travel to Luton tomorrow for a crucial top-of-the-table clash.

Jackett thinks there is a chance the Blues could be boosted by the return of Oli Hawkins and Nathan Thompson for the trip to Kenilworth Road.

He added: ‘Hawkins and Thompson are close. Whether that’s Tuesday or Saturday, we don’t want to rush them back but they are on the cusp of being ready.’