MATT TAYLOR has played down talk of an emotional return to Pompey.
The Blues hero will not be plying his trade at Fratton Park next season.
Taylor has spoken of the special connection he has with the club he made his name at.
But the 34-year-old explained he still has ambitions of playing the game at a higher level than League Two.
Taylor has been released by Championship winners Burnley, after helping Sean Dyche’s team to the title.
That sparked a round of speculation linking him with a move back to Pompey, which has gathered pace in recent days.
The left-sided player has been flattered by the excitement generated among the Fratton faithful at the prospect of his comeback.
But the man who arrived at the Blues from Luton in 2002 explained he has offers on the table to play in the English game’s second tier.
And despite his appreciation for his former club, he still intends to compete higher up the Football League ladder next term.
Taylor said: ‘I know there’s been lots of rumours linking me with coming back to Portsmouth.
‘I’ve got a strong affinity with the club. I always have and I always will.
‘But, at the moment, I have offers from a few Championship clubs which I’m considering.
‘I will make a decision on what I’m going to do in the near future.
‘I really do wish Portsmouth all the very best, though.’
Taylor remains one of the most popular Pompey players of recent times.
After being brought to the club by Harry Redknapp, he went on to become a mainstay of the side which stormed to the 2002-03 Division One title in record-breaking fashion.
Taylor made 38 appearances that campaign, scoring seven goals in the side which made it to the Premier League.
He went on to make 203 outings for the Blues across a six-year stay, before departing for Bolton in 2008.
Taylor will be remembered for scoring some of the most spectacular and important goals in Pompey’s history.
They notably included long-range efforts against Sunderland in 2005 and Everton in 2006, which will live long in the memory of fans.
Taylor’s penalties against the Black Cats and Wigan also proved crucial in Redknapp’s side securing the Great Escape at the end of the 2005-06 top-flight season.
He is planning to make a Pompey return – for the Boys of 2003 dinner, which takes place at the end of July.
And Taylor is hoping that celebration will arrive on the eve of a successful campaign for his old club.
‘The Pompey fans are something else. They really are,’ added Taylor.
‘I really hope that they get promoted next season.
‘That will start them out on the road back to where they belong – which is in the higher echelons of English football.’