Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley has made public assurances to Michael Jacobs that he still has a future at the club.
Jacobs has failed to make a starting XI in the league since suffering a knee ligament injury in April, but he did feature from the start against Wimbledon in last week’s Football League Trophy match.
Cowley believes the creative midfielder is almost back to full match fitness and has praised his quality.
“Michael’s getting there, I think he benefited from the Wimbledon game,” said Cowley to The News.
“It wasn’t quite ideal for him playing inside the pitch and a more defensive position. We would normally like to use him as a technical player with tactical experience, but he was able to cope.
“I think he does his best work in that left-half space, he likes to come in off the left and come into the inside space with an overlapping full-back.
“We all know Michael has the creative ability to find the final pass or quality of the cross.
“His shooting from distance is good and he almost scored the other night with a left-footed volley which the keeper saved.
“The idea of the number 10 is to penetrate, you’d like that player to make lots of forward runs, so I think Michael can play in that position. He can play left, the left eight and I also think he can play a 10.”
But last weekend saw Jacobs not feature in the Pompey matchday squad. The 29-year old had been chosen on the bench in the previous six fixtures but was left out against MK Dons.
Only Reeco Hackett-Fairchild retained his place in the team for League One action from the match at Plough Lane. Cowley also promised first-team faces for the game at Basingstoke Town for tonight’s Hampshire Senior Cup fixture.
Cowley had plenty to say about Jacobs’ creativity and flexibility. But that he isn’t even making a matchday squad doesn’t quite square up to those comments.
Portsmouth have struggled with creating chances so far this season. The team has gone 357 league minutes without a goal, and given Jacobs’ reputation and standing, it’s surprising that he is being omitted completely.
Perhaps fitness is still an issue, and with so many games coming so quickly it is understandable that keeping players fresh will always be a concern.
This story could yet snowball even further if Cowley continues to not use Jacobs, but the season is still young.