Kenny Jackett tipped to propel Portsmouth up to the Championshipby Mike Holden / 21 July 2017, 14:59Tweet
Mike Holden (@Ratings_Mike) previews Kenny Jackett and Portsmouth ahead of the upcoming 2017/18 League One season.
Kenny Jackett gets his reward for cutting his losses and walking out on Rotherham midway through last season, by landing a bigger job with much better prospects. He also inherits a happy dressing room with a winning habit after Pompey finally came good under Paul Cook, winning ten of their last 12 matches to steal the League Two title at the 11th hour. Cook had never totally convinced the Fratton Park faithful, so accepted an offer to join former club Wigan. Many consider Jackett an upgrade.
Jackett’s decision to walk out on Rotherham after just six weeks last season came as a shock as it went against his temperament of tireless dedication to duty. But he’s an introvert whose actions are primarily driven by his powers of observation and he obviously picked up on some alarming indicators that made it crystal clear he was on a hiding to nothing. He might be gracious and affable in general but that move alone illustrates the cold-blooded streak he possesses when tough decisions have to be made.
"I want to produce an attacking, entertaining side. I want it to press, be full of energy and full of competition. Getting that balance right is what I’m striving for. It’s something that the Portsmouth crowd will respond to, similar to when I was at Wolves and Millwall. In terms of the squad, I do see some momentum. I know the players. I saw Portsmouth play on plenty of occasions last season. It’s a step up in the level and I’m sure that’s what they all wanted when they signed."
For all the criticism Cook received over the past two seasons, he leaves a wonderful legacy for Jackett to build on. Pompey’s time in League Two was an ordeal but it’s one they battled through with perseverance and tactical discipline, and - mentally, if nothing else - they should now be stronger for the fact. Jackett knows this team and he knows this division. In his last three seasons at this level, he has bagged 82, 85 and 103 points respectively. They might be newly-promoted, but the pros far outnumber the cons.
Prediction: automatic promotion