Kenny Jackett: Portsmouth boss will not force players to play

Kenny Jackett’s Portsmouth were fourth in League One when the season was suspended

Portsmouth manager Kenny Jackett says he will not force any of his players to return to action after lockdown.

Five players from the League One club tested positive for coronavirus in March before making full recoveries.

Jackett will speak to everyone in his squad individually before any return to full training, which is not expected to be until 16 May at the earliest.

“Everybody’s personal situation and views should be listened to and respected,” he told the club’s website.

English Football League chairman Rick Parry has previously advised all 71 EFL clubs to work towards 16 May as a return-to-training date if current lockdown measures across the UK are relaxed on 7 May.

A number of Premier League clubs have already resumed limited training with players working individually and continuing to observe social distancing.

“I’ll be speaking to everyone and I know their feelings with different family situations,” Jackett added.

“They may be in a unit where someone is in a vulnerable category and I do think decisions have to be made on an individual basis.

“I would never want to force anyone to play, in any situation, because you don’t get the best out of people.

“It’s an individual matter for everyone and won’t necessarily be uniform across the whole squad.”

Portsmouth are fourth in League One with nine games to play in the regular season and two points off the automatic promotion places.

Before the season was suspended, they had also reached the EFL Trophy final and were due to face League Two Salford City at Wembley on 5 April.

BBC News

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