Jackett defends decision to play Gillingham match

KENNY JACKETT has insisted the club were right not to postpone the game with Gillingham as Pompey go in search of their third league win in a row on Saturday.

With goalkeeper Craig MacGillivray on duty with Scotland and Ross McCrorie captaining the Scottish Under-21s, it was expected that the game at Fratton Park would be called off.

But after a number of games were postponed earlier in the season, the Portsmouth boss was keen to build on the recent mini-revival and not drop further behind the teams above them in League One.

Jackett said: “I think it’s the right decision because we’ve had some big gaps between games at times this season. That builds up pressure and I didn’t want that to be the case – I think we can get going during October and November, but we need the fixtures for that.

“We want to get into a flow if we can, and produce a performance of industry and quality for our supporters. Momentum is a big thing – that’s true of all football and not just at Pompey – and Saturday is a big game for us.”

Alex Bass will start in goal for only his second league appearance – the last being in a 2-0 win over Peterborough United in May 2018.

The 21-year-old showed his qualities in the EFL Cup penalty shoot-out win at Oxford United on Tuesday night, pulling off a string of impressive stops as the last line of defence in a very youthful Pompey side which were held 2-2 over 90 minutes. Bass then made a decisive and brilliant save from Josh Ruffels in the penalty shoot-out that Pompey won 5-4.

Jackett added: “I have confidence in Alex Bass and you have to put young players in at some stage. You need to play them when the situation is right.”

Ronan Curtis, who pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad, is fit to play, with John Marquis and Tom Naylor both shaking off knocks picked up at Doncaster last weekend.