RICHIE BARKER wants to retain Dan Potts as he weighs up his Pompey squad.
The new Blues manager has given himself a five-game window to assess the players at his disposal, after arriving at Fratton Park this week.
And he is keen to keep West Ham left-back Potts for that period, as his loan spell comes to a close.
Barker has held initial talks with the 19-year-old, who has played the past four games since joining from the Premier League outfit.
But he is keen for him to stay to keep up competition for places in his squad.
‘I’ve had a conversation with Dan,’ said Barker.
‘We are going to speak to West Ham and then we are going to have another conversation with him.
‘I think for the time being, with things as they are, it would be good for him to have at least another month.
‘It’s up to Sam (Allardyce) and West Ham whether he’s allowed to continue here.
‘But just in terms of continuity, it would make sense for us to have him here. That would be helpful.
‘Ideally, we want two players for each position so we can have competition for places.
‘So if we’ve got two left-backs it’s up to them to fight it out.’
Barker feels it is important to give himself a decent period to look at his playing options.
He reckons he should be able to make decisions on that front by the time the transfer window opens next month.
Barker said: ‘We’ve got a lot of players who can play in more than one position.
‘But I don’t know enough about the players inside-out yet to know whether we’ve got enough quality in all of the positions to have two choices.
‘I don’t know and probably won’t know until they’ve played half-a-dozen games or so.
‘The transfer window opens on January 1, and there are five games up until then.
‘So it would probably be easy enough to sit down on January 2 and decide then where we are.’
Potts’ presence is made all the more important with fellow left-back Dan Butler sidelined with a knee injury.
That’s on top of the news young defender Josh Warren is set to be out for the season with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.
‘Dan’s injury certainly will be weeks,’ said Barker.
‘He won’t be out for months but we are waiting for more information.
‘He’s got a knee brace on at the moment. He’s going to be out for a while.
‘It can be tough. It’s one of those where you think you’ve cured it and then when you come back and play your first pass it hurts.
‘There were concerns it was his cruciate but it’s his medial ligament.’
n Guy Whittingham has joined Crawley as first-team coach. Whittingham links up with former Blues manager John Gregory at the side who recently sacked new Pompey boss Richie Barker.