There’s little doubt Christian Burgess will return to the Pompey XI at some point, but having sat out wins over Oldham and Oxford it isn’t likely this will be against Walsall on Saturday, right?
Matt Clarke would appear to be the mainstay in central defence, which was arguably a position occupied by Burgess until Kenny Jackett decided the former Peterborough man needed a moment out of the limelight.
The fact Jack Whatmough has spent so much of this season on the sidelines due to injury had enabled Clarke and Burgess to build up a solid – perhaps we should use the term solid a little loosely at time?! – and regular pairing. All three started against Gillingham – when Whatmough returned – but a mistake or two too many has cost Christian his place.
Clean sheets in back-to-back successes, the first we’ve managed since the turn of the year, makes it hard for Jackett to switch his present pairing, at least for the opening of an Easter double header.
When this return will come is down to the manager, but Clarke is in little doubt Burgess will soon be back in the team.
He told the News: ‘It has been a theme this year. The team has chopped and changed a little bit and it does happen. Obviously, Burge has got to take it on the chin. It’s not like he is going to be dropped forever. He’ll be back in the starting line-up before you know it, but it’s something he’s probably not really used to.’
Positively Burgess has been ‘supportive in the changing room’ and, as we would expect, certainly hope, he isn’t ‘sulking.’
Yes, as said, Burgess will return at some point but why would Jackett make a change to his pairing at Walsall? Momentum is something we need to build up as we bid to finish the season strongly.
However, given the length of time Whatmough has spent on the sidelines this season, in recent years for that matter, we’ll be wary of pushing him too far so Easter Monday’s meeting with Wigan at Fratton Park could prove a game too many? Which could be the time Burgess returns against the man who brought him to the South Coast and rates him so highly, Paul Cook.
That is a discussion for another day though perhaps…
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2017-18 Prediction League – March
Walsall (a) Saturday 31st March 2018 – click here.