Date: 15th July 2017 at 8:09am
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A case of déjà vu in many ways as Matt Clarke isn’t going to be fit for the start of the season – injury meant he missed the kick off last time round but he had become a permanent Pompey player carrying an injury.

The groin injury suffered by Clarke at Havant means he’ll miss August.

Following the Poole pre-season win assistant Joe Gallen had said Clarke looked as if he would miss the start of the season and now Blues boss Kenny Jackett has confirmed as much.

Clarke will miss at least a month of the League One football with Nathan Thompson himself facing four-six weeks on the sidelines with a foot injury. However, he’s expected back first.

He told the News: ‘Nathan Thompson will be back before Clarke. Matt will probably miss a month of the season with a groin injury. It’s frustrating for him and for us because he has started well and looks a good player. A lot of his rehab period is during pre-season and he won’t miss too many games, but he certainly will miss the start of the season.’

An obvious disappointment as Clarke is a superb defender, one that I would have quite happily seen scoop a Player of the Year award last season, the fact he didn’t win any still surprises me.

Regarding Thompson the boss added: ‘Nathan is out for four to six weeks. We’re hoping to reduce that, but then he will not have done any training. Before he does come back, the injury needs to be cleared up. Once he is back, we will push him hard.’

It is what it is though and injuries are part of football and we move on.

But what we do now need is someone else to step up, which could present a great chance to Jack Whatmough as I’d imagine he’ll be ahead of Tom Davies and certainly now Thompson as he’s got up to six weeks out from this point.

Meanwhile, Jackett has commented for the first time on the arrivals of goalkeeper Luke McGee from Tottenham and striker Brett Pitman from Ipswich – it had been left to Gallen until now.

He told ‘We’re very pleased to have brought a goalkeeper and centre-forward in. They’re obviously big positions in the squad that were needed and very good additions to what we already have. In terms of forward options, I felt we needed an experienced player and Brett`s someone with a record of scoring goals and winning promotion.’

Adding: ‘It wasn’t quite working for him at Ipswich, so we`ve been working hard to bring him down. Being a south coast lad, he fits the bill for us. His brain takes him into dangerous areas and he has good touch and awareness. When he does get chances, he has a useful habit of finishing them. We’re delighted that he’s here with a few weeks of pre-season still to go, as we build up to the Rochdale game.’

Obviously Jackett knows McGee from his time working at Spurs but he also watched him regularly during his season on loan at Peterborough, which fills the boss with confidence.

‘I saw Luke on loan at Peterborough last season and he more than held his own, so I was confident in him coming back to League One. It’s good that he has experience of this division and at 21, his best years are obviously ahead of him. We’ll be working hard with him to make sure he fulfils his potential. He’s a very good shot-stopper and has an all-round game, but he still needs to keep working and take this opportunity.’

Both should make their debuts at Bognor this afternoon.


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