Pompey boss Cook closing in on 10th summer recruit

Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey hosts Fulham Under-21s tonight in the Checkatrade Trophy

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Pompey are closing in on a loan deal for Ipswich Town’s Matt Clarke.

And Paul Cook is hoping to recruit the 18-year-old in time for tonight’s friendly with Coventry City (7.30pm).

Blues boss Paul Cook  Picture: Steve Reid Blitz Photography

Blues boss Paul Cook Picture: Steve Reid Blitz Photography

The youngster broke into Mick McCarthy’s first-team last season before his 18th birthday and went on to make five appearances.

Now aged 18, the Championship side are keen to loan him out for experience – and Pompey have stepped forward.

A central defender, Clarke will add further competition to Cook’s squad as he prepares for the start of the campaign on August 8.

Currently captain Paul Robinson, Christian Burgess and Adam Webster are fighting for the two centre half spots in his side.

In addition, Jack Whatmough is expected to return around Christmas following a cruciate knee ligament injury.

Clarke is highly regarded by McCarthy and was given a two-year professional deal in September 2014 while still with the club’s Academy.

He started their Capital One Cup clash at Crawley in August 2014 for his debut, before becoming more involved in the squad in the new year.

The teenager appeared as a substitute in four Championship matches, most recently against Bournemouth in April as a late entrant off the bench.

Clarke can also play as a central midfielder, although Cook already has plenty of options in that area of his squad.

Pompey currently have Jayden Stockley as their only loan player at the club, following his arrival from Bournemouth.

Once confirmed, Clarke will become Cook’s 10th recruit this summer as he continues to overhaul the club in anticipation of a promotion challenge.