‘It’s fair to say tensions have risen’ – Our View on Portsmouth and Kenny Jackett

It is fair to say tensions have risen between Pompey supporters and manager Kenny Jackett since he joined the club in 2017.

This has been fuelled by two unsuccessful playoff campaigns in as many seasons and the Fratton faithful have displayed their discontent by the perceived lack of man-management as well as the tactics implemented by Jackett.

Although Portsmouth are a massive club and supporters will feel they do not belong in third tier of English Football, you would be forgiven for thinking the fans would be somewhat satisfied with the state of their club given the turmoil they have endured in the past decade. Multiple administrations and points deductions have caused the South coast club to fall down the leagues and the future had looked uncertain for several years. Therefore, optimism surrounded Fratton Park when Pompey won promotion back into League one and were later taken over by billionaire owner Michael Eisner as the financial issues were ended. Despite this, there is still a feeling of negativity after three seasons back in League One with the current on-field situation.

Manager Kenny Jackett has been criticised on a number of occasions for his more direct tactical style during his three years at the club. It has been labelled as ‘anti-football’ and ‘boring’ by many supporters who feel a more creative and entertaining brand of football should be used. There would perhaps be a different view of this playing style if Jackett had been able to guide Portsmouth back into the Championship, however, as you only have to look at Wycombe to see that a more direct approach can be effective and Wycombe fans will certainly have no problem with it. Despite this, with the likes of Ronan Curtis, Marcus Harness and John Marquis in attack it could be argued that Jackett should be getting more out of this talented forward line by utilising their creative strengths in a system which better suits them.

A somewhat toxic relationship has emerged between the 58-year-old and supporters who have made it known they want a new manager. This hasn’t been helped by several key players being forced out of the starting line-up due to unknown reasons. Most notably striker Brett Pitman who was Pompey’s top scorer in the 2017/18 campaign with 25 goals in all competitions was told he was no longer needed and ended up training with Bournemouth U23s earlier this year. This has raised question marks over Jackett’s man-management skills and relationship with the players as Pitman was pivotal in Jackett’s first season in charge and his goals helped Pompey to an 8th place finish in 2017/18.

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Jackett will be hoping for a successful transfer window as next season could prove vital to win back the support of Fratton Park. The former Millwall manager will want to keep hold of key players such as Ronan Curtis who is on the radar of a number of Championship clubs including Derby County. Jackett should perhaps also be looking to add some more creative players to the squad in order to bring the best out of his current forward line and therefore provide more of a threat from open play.

The departure of centre back Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett’s loan spell ending could prove to be big losses for Jackett, however, as the defensive partnership formed between the pair meant Pompey were tough opposition for any team to score against last season, particularly in the second half of the campaign. Jackett certainly couldn’t be criticised for his defensive set up last term and this is something he will want to maintain going into next season in order for Portsmouth to be promotion favourites again.

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