Reported Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen target in line for new Portsmouth deal

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Pompey have moved to secure the futures of Jack Whatmough, Gareth Evans and Nathan Thompson.

The Blues have opened contract talks with the popular trio, whose existing deals expire at the season’s end.

Pompey are in talks over a new deal for Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey are in talks over a new deal for Jack Whatmough. Picture: Joe Pepler

Kenny Jackett had put such discussions on hold earlier in the campaign, preferring players to focus on maintaining their table-topping presence.

However, that stance has changed since the turn of the year, with Pompey now pursuing fresh deals for the trio.

And Jackett revealed early talks have offered encouragement that his key performers will stay.

The Blues boss said: ‘We are talking to all three, we would like all three to stay, there is no doubt about that.

‘All have had successful seasons so far. People won’t be surprised that we are keen to keep them and come to an agreement to make their stay here a longer one.

‘We have talked to all three as a club, we want them to stay and they have been offered contracts.

‘It’s early days, we are hopeful all three with stay, we haven’t had any negative feedback yet.

‘As a club we would like them to stay, they have been successful players for us and we would like that to continue.

‘You do look at the potential of us being in either division next season, but similarly we have a lot of people who have never played in the Championship.

‘We have one or two who have, but a lot of our players haven't played in the Championship.

‘I would want some hunger to get there, which is a big thing, and if we do get there then there is a determination to establish yourself there.

‘That is a big part of our recruitment and how we manage the club at the moment.’

Evans registered his 10th goal of the campaign in the midweek Checkatrade Trophy win at Southend.

Regularly serving as Pompey’s skipper this season, the versatile midfielder has appeared 163 times since arriving in the summer of 2015.

Thompson, who is presently sidelined by a hamstring injury, was Jackett’s maiden signing as boss.

Regarded as first-choice right-back, the 28-year-old has 61 outings for the club.

Finally, Whatmough has totalled 91 appearances and one goal since emerging through the youth ranks.

The central defender was this week linked with interest from Rangers, Celtic and Aberdeen.

Aged 22, Pompey would be entitled to a tribunal-fixed fee should he opt to depart at the end of his present contract.

Jackett added: ‘I think all three deserve the respect they’ve got because they have been good players for us.

‘Jack has been excellent, very consistent, and formed a really good partnership with Matt Clarke. We would like him to stay.

‘I’ve seen the speculation, but similarly we haven't had any approaches.’