Pompey ‘priority’ to tie down Burgess

Christian Burgess Picture: Joe Pepler
Christian Burgess Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Kenny Jackett is adamant keeping Christian Burgess at Fratton Park is his priority.

And Pompey’s boss is optimistic the central defender will commit himself to a new deal.

I would hope he will follow us during our ambition, he has good character, is established here and likes it here

Kenny Jackett

Burgess registered his 100th Blues appearance in Saturday’s 2-0 victory over MK Dons.

The inevitable arrival at the landmark figure had been delayed by two weeks following a troublesome calf injury.

But he finally reached his century at the weekend – and fittingly helped Pompey record another clean sheet with Matt Clarke by his side.

In the background, talks continue over tying the 26-year-old to the Blues, with his contract expiring next summer.

Burgess has consistently stated he wants to remain on the south coast following his June 2015 arrival from Peterborough for an undisclosed fee.

And Jackett is hopeful an agreement can be reached with the centre-half.

He said: ‘Christian has done very well in my time here and also did well last year, his partnership with Clarke is a very good one.

‘Many of Portsmouth’s wins in recent years have been built on those two playing at centre-back.

‘He played well on Saturday. Congratulations to him on his 100 games. I like it when he says “here’s to the next 100”, I like that.

‘Keeping him for the future is a priority for us and something we want to do.

‘Enda Stevens left in the summer with his contract up and we don’t want to see that with Burgess, he has been a good player for us.

‘Talks are going well, I’m optimistic he will stay.

‘He has a good partnership with Clarke and one I would want to continue.

‘I would hope he will follow us during our ambition. He has good character, is established here and likes it here.

‘I would like to think that he has his eyes on progressing with Portsmouth.’

Jackett has swiftly overhauled the League Two title-winning side he inherited from Paul Cook in the summer.

However, when fit, the central-defensive axis of Burgess and Clarke have been automatic choices.

Only Burgess, Clarke and Kyle Bennett started the final game of Cook’s reign and Saturday’s convincing win over MK Dons.

Instead, the likes of Danny Rose, Kal Naismith and Gareth Evans have found first-team opportunities restricted.

Meanwhile, Jackett has moved on former regulars Gary Roberts and Carl Baker, in addition to Tom Davies and Michael Smith.

Yet Burgess remains a constant, irrespective of the summer managerial change, which is testament to his talent.

The former Middlesbrough player has settled into a home in Old Portsmouth and been active in the community.

In January, he coached a local under-12s team after Pompey’s game at Crawley had been called off.