Verdict: Portsmouth skipper Tom Naylor would be wasted at centre-back against Bolton
Tom Naylor would be wasted if he’s restored to the defence against Bolton.
That’s the verdict of sports writer Will Rooney, speaking in the latest episode of Pompey Talk.
Oli Hawkins is sidelined for up to six weeks after suffering a foot injury in the south-coast derby defeat to Southampton on Tuesday.
Portsmouth boss' verdict on latest speculation over Leicester City’s George Hirst and reveals likely destination for Ipswich Town, Blackburn Rovers and Blackpool target
League One latest: MK Dons have bid for Portsmouth target rejected by Cambridge as Sheffield Wednesday close in on former Arsenal and Ipswich defender made available by Cardiff
Former Portsmouth and Swansea midfielder George Byers' angry reaction to Sheffield Wednesday substitution now watched more than 320,000 times on Sky Sports Twitter page
LATEST: The future of Portsmouth international starlet becomes clear with offers tabled for exit
Portsmouth injury news: in-form Blues handed significant boost by quintet ahead of Bristol Rovers' Fratton Park visit - including long-awaited return of former Sunderland man
Summer signings Paul Downing and Sean Raggett are Pompey’s recognised centre-half options, while Anton Walkes and Ross McCrorie have operated in the role during their respective careers.
Jackett admits Naylor is also under consideration, having so far started three matches in the position this season.
However, Rooney believes the captain must remain in central midfielder.
And he feels Downing should partner Christian Burgess in the heart of the defence against Keith Hill’s men.
Speaking on Pompey Talk, Rooney said: ‘It’s another tweak at the back, this time forced through injury.
‘That Hawkins and Burgess partnership looked like Jackett had finally got it right.
‘But I wouldn’t put Tom Naylor at the back. You miss his energy, bite and ability to win the ball in the engine room.
‘Ross McCrorie has had a bit of a mixed start and hasn’t really set the world alight like some thought he might have imagined.
‘Naylor is your skipper and you need him in the middle of the park to be your general – he’s wasted at centre-back.
‘I’d probably go with Burgess and Downing at centre-back. I know Jackett said he likes someone powerful next to either but they haven't played bad together bar Burton.
‘It hasn’t been a bad combination and both are experienced players.
‘Maybe Paul Downing has thought “I need to be a bit more aggressive” and be more powerful to take that role on (while out of the team).
‘For me, I’d be putting him back into the team.’
Watch the rest of Pompey Talk on the video above.