Pompey boss: Fringe players could depart

Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Paul Cook Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Paul Cook has admitted there could be January departures of fringe players as he strives to strengthen his squad.

The Blues boss is keen to recruit during the transfer window, with a striker his priority.

We have carried a healthy squad all year and one or two lads might need to move on to go and play football, but there is no clamour to push people out, no urgency

Paul Cook

However, equipped with a 28-man squad, it is clear there must also be exits.

Whether through loan arrangements, sales or mutually-agreed departures, spaces need to be freed up.

In particular, Curtis Main, Drew Talbot and Adam Buxton find themselves out of the frame at Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, Tom Davies, Brandon Haunstrup and Ben Close continue to be overlooked for playing duty.

Cook already has Calvin Davies, Adam May, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alex Bass out on loan.

And he conceded there are players who may need to be moved on.

Pompey’s manager said: ‘Squads sometimes get highlighted about size and if you want to put development players and younger lads in then everyone’s squad looks big.

‘We have carried a healthy squad all year and one or two lads might need to move on to go and play football, but there is no clamour to push people out, no urgency.

‘As a football club, if you are not looking to play someone then the reality is they should not be at your club.

‘That doesn’t mean players are going to leave, though.

‘If you look at ours, Milan Lalkovic, for example, is one who can genuinely have a grievance that he hasn’t had enough minutes on the pitch and is one I do want to get onto the pitch, I genuinely do.

‘He is one I feel can have an impact.

‘But there is no clamour for players to move out.’

Main has been sidelined with an abdominal injury since October, yet has attracted interest.

The striker has scored five goals in 14 appearances, but his continued injury absence has frustrated and others have moved ahead.

Talbot started the Blues’ opening five fixtures before a hamstring injury in training forced him out of the side.

Since then, his only appearance has arrived against Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy.

In total, Talbot has been included in three of Pompey’s past 24 squads.

Buxton’s initial impact was hampered by injury, yet since returning to full fitness has struggled to break into the team.

The right-back has not made a league appearance, with his four starts coming in cup competitions.

Davies lost his first-team spot to Matt Clarke and has not featured since November 8, making only two squads since.

Meanwhile, home-grown duo Close and Haunstrup are in desperate need of games.

Haunstrup has made only a single appearance this season, while Close has featured in a first-team league squad once, with four cup outings.