This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett can’t help but be feeling the pressure with his side sitting down in 20th in League One, with only one win to their name so far this season and the small matter of bitter south coast rivals Southampton next up in the third round of the Carabao Cup tonight at Fratton Park.
Jackett will be desperate for a performance tonight so that he can take some positives into a crucial league clash against Bolton Wanderers at the weekend.
So should Jackett look to play his strongest side tonight versus Southampton?
“I think Jackett should definitely be looking to name the best side available to him, as a positive result could go some way to changing their run of poor form.
“This south-coast derby does not come around very often so Pompey fans will be desperate to cause an upset, and it could give Jackett’s side a real boost if they perform well.
“Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl has also confirmed that he will name his strongest side tonight, so Jackett must do the same if Pompey are to have any chance of competing.
“It could then prove to be a big test for Southampton in a fiery atmosphere at Fratton Park with difficult conditions to boot.”
“Yes, he simply has to start his strongest, he can’t afford not to. It’s one of their biggest games in recent times and fans won’t be happy if he was to play a weakened side.
“As well as this, it’s an opportunity for Jackett to win over some supporters by getting what would be a massively morale boosting victory.
“If they lose, and lose comfortably then Portsmouth fans will begin to turn on the boss even more, it really is a make or break night for the manager at Fratton Park so has to play his strongest side.”
“This is a tough one, I’m sure he’ll be mulling over it right up until he’s got to hand the teamsheets in.
“The pressure really is on Jackett tonight, fans for calling for his head after the defeat to Wycombe at the weekend.
“If they lose heavily to Southampton tonight, then fans will lose their patience with him even more, however a win could get them off his back and a strong XI could help.
“But they need to get back on track in the league, so if he names a strong XI tonight and someone gets injured, fingers will be pointed at him.
“Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”