Five questions Pompey fans will want answered

Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler
Matt Clarke celebrates his goal at MK Dons. Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett’s ever the realist.

While the Book of Football Management decrees bosses must state the season is alive until it’s mathematically over, the Pompey boss has admitted it’s effectively finished.

Jackett earns kudos for his continually fair and level-headed assessments of his team’s position this term, even moments after the cut-and thrust of battle - a scenario which has stretched the credibility of many of his peers’ post-match remarks.

In fact, the man at the helm made the most salient of statements in the aftermath of Saturday’s disappointment to Charlton, when suggesting the significance of this season’s transition will only be garnered when measured against next term’s performance.

So, as the campaign winds down, what are the questions which need to be answered across the summer? What are areas of debate ahead of sophomore term at the helm, which is certain to allow the Pompey boss less leeway than he’s been afforded so far?

In a period where’s Jackett’s been allowed to lay the foundations for his Blues vision, here are five points the Fratton faithful are waiting to see addressed.

Will Pompey keep Matt Clarke?

Sometimes you just know a player is destined for a higher level. The only debate is quite how high Matt Clarke can go.

A shoo-in for the Pompey player of the season - even in a campaign in which Brett Pitman has scored 23 goals to date.

The list of suitors continues to lengthen, with Bristol City reportedly adding their names to a bevy of Premier League and Championship sides on the 21-year-old’s trail.

Clarke signed a new contract until 2020 in February. Now we wait to see if any substantial offers are resisted.

Will Jackett recruit well enough?

This has to be where the key lies to next season’s success.

It’s been stated Jackett will be working to the same budget which has already been put in place by the Eisners - somewhere north of £3m.

That leaves little leeway for paying fees, with Jackett making it clear he needs older heads in his ranks to get the right blend of youth and experience.

A goalkeeper looks an area the Pompey boss will return to, along with additional midfield power.

Much, of course, will depend on departures when it comes to how the squad is balanced up, but recruitment will be the fundamental area when it comes to squad planning.

Will the loans have been worth it?

Pompey recruited seven loan signings this season.

When supporters stated their concern the approach could hurt home-grown talent, it was made clear agreements are in place to sign all bar one permanently.

Even the exception - Connor Ronan - looks unlikely to have a Wolves future after their promotion, so could end up at Fratton Park.

We await to see what’s happen with Tareiq Holmes-Dennis, Anton Walkes, Stuart O’Keefe, Matty Kennedy, Sylvain Deslandes and Stephen Henderson moving forward.

Will the out-of-contract players stay?

There are eight players whose Pompey futures are still be resolved.

The most significant of those names is Kal Naismith, and the longer his situation goes on the less likely a contract resolution appears.

After regularly featuring in the first-team squad this term, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Alex Bass will be expected to stay.

What happens to Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Widdrington, Nicke Kabamba and Jez Bedford is less clear.

Will the young players kick on?

It’s been heartening to see the likes of academy products Ben Close, Adam May and Brandon Haunstrup pick up more game time.

The trio have clocked up 79 appearances between them with two matches remaining, while Jack Whatmough has come back into the fray after recovering from his knee injury.

Much was hoped for Conor Chaplin this season, but the young poacher has become an increasingly frustrated figure.

When Jackett speaks of next term offering context for this one, it rings especially true for the emerging talent.