Date: 29th July 2017 at 8:41am
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This time next week Pompey will be preparing for the Fratton Park opener in League One against Rochdale.

Ahead of this the Blues head to Crawley for the final pre-season outing this afternoon.

Yes, when all is said and done, what happens this afternoon probably doesn’t really count for too much in the months ahead but Kenny Jackett has told he wants to go into next weekend off the back of a positive performance and a result.

‘It’s the final friendly and we want to finish our pre-season schedule off strongly. I’m looking forward to the coming campaign and the players have looked hungry throughout the summer. I want that to continue and we want to go into the Rochdale game in a winning frame of mind if at all possible.’

I saw today probably wouldn’t count for much, in terms of result, possibly, but a stunning performance from a player, or collectively, could be worth plenty? More so the added form and fitness a full 90 could bring.

Momentum is gained from winning games, which has been a common occurrence during these summer friendlies, admittedly; with all due respect, our greatest test came against Bournemouth last weekend when they left Fratton with a win.

Heading into the crucial months of August and September Jackett went on to say he wants to ‘hit the ground running.’

‘We also want to be as fit as we possibly can be and offer our supporters plenty of encouragement for what lies ahead. You learn plenty about your team and individuals at this stage and the August/September period is so vital because it gives you an idea how you’re going to fare in a new division. We want to hit the ground running.’

If Jackett didn’t have his XI in mind for Rochdale it would be a surprise.

However, he’s insisted there’s still a chance for players to play a way into the side but, given the fact the boss is looking for players to build up a further 90 minutes, the chances are he’ll not make too many changes at Crawley this afternoon so those who start will, in most cases, probably be starting against Dale?

Jackett concluded: ‘You need blocks of 90 minutes in pre-season as part of your conditioning because so many games are decided in the final moments. We have a fair idea of what the team’s going to be against Rochdale, but you have to assess things every day to see if you need to make changes.’


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