Portsmouth verdict: Logic behind Greg Halford snub but central-defensive cover is needed

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Kenny Jackett’s decision not to entertain a move for Greg Halford is understandable.

But the Pompey boss’ reluctance to dip into the free transfer market for a defender could come back to haunt him.

Former Pompey defender Greg Halford Picture: Steve Reid

Former Pompey defender Greg Halford Picture: Steve Reid

That’s the verdict of News sports writer Will Rooney, who believes additional central-defensive cover is needed following Jack Whatmough’s knee injury.

Speaking in the latest edition of Pompey Talk (see video included), the Blues reporter said Halford’s a player Blues fans would welcome back at Fratton Park.

The 34-year-old free agent expressed an interest in a Pompey return via Twitter after scans revealed Whatmough required surgery.

But Jackett has already dismissed that possibly, along with the temptation to bring in an alternative specialist centre-half on a free transfer.

There’s logic behind that decision, according to Rooney, with the manager keen to utilise the resources he already has at his disposal.

Yet he believes such an approach could prove dangerous if Matt Clarke or Christian Burgess were to pick up injuries.

Speaking in Pompey Talk, Rooney said: ‘You have to realise he (Halford) hasn't just been released by Cardiff, I don't think he's played since March.

‘He trained/played with West Brom under-23s but that was back in December, so he’s probably lacking match fitness.

‘Don't get me wrong, I'd like to see Pompey bring in another centre-back.

‘To be honest, you never know when an injury’s going to hit and now we've only got two recognised centre-backs in Matt Clarke and Christian Burgess.

‘They’re two very good options, but let's hope one of them doesn't get injured – then you're going to have to play a makeshift Anton Walkes or Tom Naylor.

‘Also, if Clarke got injured, then Jackett thinks Lee Brown could play there.

‘Then it's definitely square pegs in round holes.

‘When you're pushing for automatic promotion, you need players who can play in the division.

‘Greg Halford, he's dropping down to League One, and you have to remember he will probably find it a little bit easy if he was up to speed.

‘But how long does it take for him to get up to match fitness?

‘It will take him a month to six weeks. There are only 16 games to go now so you can see Kenny Jackett's logic in not signing him.’

Rooney added: ‘It's not that there's sufficient quality (in the Pompey squad to act as cover), it’s just it's not their natural position.

‘As I say, you don't want square pegs in round holes at this stage of the season, you need players who can play in that position.

‘Let's just touch wood that nothing does happen.

‘If something happens to Burgess or Clarke they need another recognised CB.

‘You've got Matt Casey. He's done well in the Checkatrade Trophy but to go to that level at his age is a big ask.

‘So, touch wood, nothing happens to those two otherwise it could be a pitfall in Pompey's automatic promotion chances.’