Date: 19th January 2018 at 8:13am
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The extended injury enforced absence of Stuart O’Keefe has further stretched Kenny Jackett’s midfield options. The on-loan Cardiff man is being troubled by a hernia injury which is set to rule him out for the majority of the remainder of the season – for up to three months as it stands.

His absence is worse given the fact the influential Danny Rose – broken leg of course – isn’t going to play again for Pompey, well, certainly not this season anyway.

Central midfield is our main concern but with Gareth Evans also ruled out of the game against Rotherham tomorrow it’s right across midfield where we have issues, which makes it likely Jackett will stick with the same system deployed against Scunthorpe, in fact the same personnel, meaning Nathan Thompson will again operate in midfield.

He told ‘We’ve had a lot of injury problems across our midfield and so putting Nathan Thompson in there last week helped us. So the formation we used last time with three at the back is an option, although systems aren’t the most important thing.’

Admittedly, Jackett knows we’re not ‘strong enough’ in the middle of the park, therefore losing the experience of these players is a setback. However, it has given the youngsters a chance and the boss has been impressed by them – it is an area he’ll look at though.

‘There’s a lot of experience missing in that area when you look at the likes of Danny, Stuart and Gareth,’ added Jackett.

‘It’s very important to adapt when you lose those players and it means plenty of younger players have been given opportunities. They’ve impressed on an individual basis, but I don’t think we’ve been strong enough as a collective in the centre of the pitch with those disruptions and that’s something to look at.’

Should a player arrive it’ll not be ahead of the trip to the New York Stadium tomorrow.

It was also confirmed no offers are in for any of our players and as much as Jackett would like to conduct business as early in the transfer window as possible the boss knows he’s got to be patient and see how situations unfold at other clubs first – there isn’t going to be much activity this month though.

He told the News: ‘I don’t expect anyone in before tomorrow and there have been no bids in for our players. Whether anybody will arrive before the deadline we shall see but it won’t be a high amount of people.’

Adding: ‘You always like to do your business early if you can. The nature of it is, for some reason, people wait until the end and then there’s a massive knock-on effect. Once they sign one or two players they release others – and that’s why it builds up towards the end. It’s nobody’s choice but there is a pecking order to it and everybody is waiting for maybe one or two clubs to sign or make decisions.’

Yes, I’m happy to see the younger players given an opportunity, which is important, but there’s definitely a lack of experience in the middle of the park due to the loss of Rose and then O’Keefe.

Thompson could do a decent job in a defensive midfield role – he did well enough last weekend against Scunthorpe, claiming the Man of the Match gong – but if at all possible bringing in another option would help, it also allows the former Swindon captain to revert to his full back role, which has been filled pretty well since his arrival last summer.


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2017-18 Prediction League – January
Rotherham (a) Saturday 20th January – click here.
Shrewsbury (h) Saturday 27th January – click here.

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