Pompey warned about Caolan Lavery '˜gamble'

Mark Catlin has warned against the '˜gamble' of Pompey attempting to sign Caolan Lavery.

Saturday, 28th May 2016, 7:00 am
Caolan Lavery. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Fratton faithful have been eager for the return of the striker who netted four times in 12 appearances in loan spell this season.

The 23-year-old departed the Blues at the turn of the year, yet issues over his Sheffield Wednesday contract meant he spent the second half of the campaign deprived of first-team football anywhere.

Now Lavery is a free agent, although his age means any interested club would be required to sign him for a fee fixed by a tribunal.

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And it’s a route Catlin believes Pompey should be loath to follow.

He said: ‘Paul (Cook) has been a long-term admirer of Caolan.

‘But the whole thing is very complicated in regards of he is out of contract now and it becomes a matter for the tribunal to discuss – and that is one hell of a gamble.

‘It could be anything from £200,000 to £500,000, no-one knows. With Sheffield Wednesday being a Championship club it could even be figures in excess of that.

‘It is a bit of a lottery and one I think as a football club would be very difficult for us to get involved in.

‘Theoretically we could be taking part in a lottery which could even cost you up to £1m, you just don’t know.

‘What people need to realise is with a tribunal you are committed to the outcome, you have to pay it.

‘In general – and I’m not talking about Caolan here – but if we went after a particular player at a tribunal and the tribunal said “you are going to have to pay a million pounds”, we cannot turn around and say “well, I’m not going to sign him then”.

‘You are bound by the tribunal’s decision.

‘You have to prepare for worst-case scenario and that is one hell of a gamble for a football club, especially one in League Two dealing with a club in the Championship.

‘The situation with Caolan has never been straightforward, but not many deals are to be honest.’

Lavery hadn’t played a minute of league football this season before arriving at Fratton Park in October.

Injury to Matt Tubbs prompted Cook to recruit a player who had previously impressed during a Chesterfield loan spell under him.

The Northern Ireland under-21 international opened his goal account at Notts County on his fourth Pompey appearance.

He went on to form a superb double-act with fellow loanee Marc McNulty, between them registering nine goals is as many games when matched in the side.

Yet Catlin is uncertain whether the youngster actually wants a Blues return.

He added: ‘I don’t know if he is interested, that is a decision for Caolan and his advisors.

‘He will be swayed, as are all players, by what his advisor tells him.’