Doyle: I don’t want Pompey guarantees

Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey skipper Michael Doyle Picture: Joe Pepler
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Michael Doyle is eager to remain at Fratton Park – but won’t seek guarantees of first-team football.

Pompey’s skipper and David Forde are currently the only League Two ever-presents in Pompey’s promotion campaign.

The midfielder has been an essential member of Paul Cook’s starting XI since his arrival in the summer of 2015.

Having amassed 95 appearances for the Blues, he is among 16 players whose deals expire at the season’s end.

Doyle turns 36 in August and acknowledges he may need to battle for a first-team spot in League One next term.

Yet he is up for the fight and keen to extend his south-coast stay if Cook so wishes.

Doyle said: ‘I would like to stay here at Pompey.

‘You get to my age and take it a season at a time, but I feel I’m going to play on for a couple of years at least.

‘I’m enjoying my football, I love it, I love competing, you just want to keep going.

‘Hopefully it’s a crest of a wave at Pompey now and, going into another division, it would be nice to be part of that. We’ll see what happens.

‘One thing I’ve never had in my career – and rightly so – are first-team guarantees. I’ve never had a manager guarantee me to play and would never want that.

‘All you want is a chance to compete with the fella next to you to play. I have always loved competition and thrived in that environment.

‘When you step up with big clubs like this you are going to attract better players and I have been at a lot of big clubs and always played.

‘But I know how football works, the one thing I’ve always said is if I’m not playing well enough then I won’t play. I will, though, continue working hard on the training ground to get myself in the team.

‘That’s all you can do. Nobody is guaranteed their place, especially at clubs like this, and that’s not healthy anyway.

‘If somebody is playing better than you then they play, it’s as simple as that.

‘I want to play every week, but if I’m not then I’m not.’

The potential League Two title-decider against Cheltenham could represent the final appearance for several of Cook’s squad.

Other first-team regulars out of contract include Enda Stevens, Gareth Evans and Kyle Bennett, while Forde’s loan spell from Millwall ends.

Saturday may be a glorious swansong for some, but Doyle has no intention of winding it down whatever the future.

He added: ‘I’m at a stage when people probably look at your age, but that bugs me more than anything.

‘Football isn’t how it was 15-20 years ago, people need to get their head around that age is just a number.

‘When you are not good enough you get found out, when you are not fit enough you get found out, when you are cutting corners and not living your life right you get found out.

‘That’s not for me.’