KENNY JACKETT has outlined concerns over over-inflating his Pompey squad.
The Blues boss has stated he intends to steer away from bulking up his first-team playing options ahead of the new campaign.
Jackett is currently working with a 27-man squad as he works with his players in pre-season.
The 55-year-old has brought in a trio of new recruits in Nathan Thompson, Tareiq Holmes-Dennis and Luke McGee.
Paul Cook used 32 players last term on Pompey’s way to winning the League Two title. That was down from 34 in his first campaign, while Andy Awford used 37 men in the 2014-15 season.
Jackett is concerned about the impact having too many men will have on experienced pros once the campaign is under way.
And with Brett Pitman in his sights, that is likely to lead to exits before the season starts.
‘You can have too big a squad sometimes,’ said Jackett.
‘It’s all okay in pre-season with a lot of senior players, but once you start picking teams people get left out.
‘So it’s better you have a number with a strong presence behind it from the academy.’
Jez Bedford and Theo Widdrington have stepped up into the first-team squad this season after being handed senior deals.
Jackett highlighted they are counted in the squad total, although they are seen as future prospects.
He said: ‘Two or three of the number are young pros.
‘There’s the likes of Jez Bedford, Theo Widdrington, Christian Oxlade-Chamberlain and people like that.
‘There isn’t a development group here at the moment. That’s something we’ll have to look at, but those young players are with us now.’
– JORDAN CROSS