Jackett: Defender can achieve his ambitions with Pompey

Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Matt Clarke Picture: Joe Pepler
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Kenny Jackett is adamant Matt Clarke can fulfil his ambitions of playing at a higher level with Pompey.

The defender has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with reports suggesting both Brighton and Watford have been tracking his progress.

Clarke has impressed since initially joining on loan from Ipswich in 2015, before making a permanent switch to Fratton Park a year later.

He was a key member of the League Two title-winning side last season.

And has acclimatised seamlessly to his new League One surroundings this term.

Jackett has been pleased with the 21-year-old since being appointed Blues boss in June.

He sees Clarke’s central-defensive partnership with Christian Burgess as key – and insisted Pompey is the right club for him to reach his goals.

‘I’ve been pleased with Matt Clarke,’ said Jackett.

‘I’m sure he can do very well for us and meet his ambitions of moving up the football pyramid with Portsmouth.

‘It is a big enough club for him to do so.

‘In terms of improving, we want that to be taking Portsmouth there.

‘He needs to keep going. Matt’s made a good start to his career.

‘It’s not the sort of thing where you can be inconsistent, however.

‘Matt needs to set high standards, keep improving – and he’s capable of doing so.

‘Burgess and Clarke are two solid and reliable defenders and I would always want them around.

‘We haven’t had enough players with real defensive instincts this season.’

Still in the early stages of his career, it’s highly likely Clarke will play at a higher level as his playing days progress.

He made four appearances for Ipswich in the Championship before moving to the Blues.

Jackett insisted there has been no enquires or bids for the centre-half.

However, the Pompey manager has taken positives from the reported interest.

He believes it shows his side are heading in the right direction – and would welcome similar attention in more of his first-team players.

‘We haven’t had any enquires or bids for Matt,’ added Jackett.

‘I’d love to be at a stage when a high number of our players are linked to other clubs – it would prove we are doing well.

‘Speculation also builds up towards a transfer window.

‘We watch and try to watch as many players as we can – in particular, ones we feel are in our market.

‘You have to work out what your market is in terms of scouting.

‘For the clubs higher than us in the pyramid currently, I’m sure they will be looking at us and anyone with potential.

‘Matt is a good player and we want players linked (to other clubs) – it proves we are doing well.’