Skipper wants to commit to Pompey future

Johnny Ertl. Picture: Steve Reid (123216-0982)
Johnny Ertl. Picture: Steve Reid (123216-0982)
Pompey were crowned league champions on this day in 1949. Picture: Pompey History Society

On this day picture gallery: Pompey crowned league champions

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Johnny Ertl is prepared to pledge his future to Pompey.

The Blues skipper revealed he wants to extend his current deal, which expires on January 29.

A total of 12 players have already left Fratton Park this month – the anticipated exodus hitting the squad hard.

Of those, Izale McLeod and Lubomir Michalik decided to turn down the chance to sign new one-month deals in order to move elsewhere.

In addition, Gabor Gyepes has a gentlemen’s agreement in place which allows him to tear up his existing contract if a club comes in for him by the end of the month.

Yet Ertl is adamant he does not want to leave Pompey.

The Austrian has shown his versatility during 19 appearances to date – and has proven to be a popular member of the squad. He has relocated to Eastleigh – to live with Simon Eastwood and Gyepes – and insists he is revelling in life on the south coast.

Ertl said: ‘I would very much like to stay – this is a brilliant club.

‘Every single day there is a new surprise at Portsmouth but I am enjoying myself.

‘There are so many good people here and I really do like this part of Hampshire.

‘I’ve signed more contracts here than in my whole career but that does not concern me.

‘I find it quite funny to be honest.

‘A friend of mine recently called me up and told me he had signed a four-year contract.

‘Well, I told him I sign a new one every single month!

‘The most important thing is to enjoy where you are and that is definitely what I am feeling.

‘This period now is part of the club’s history.

‘All the youngsters coming through are for the future but it takes time right now.

‘Some things went wrong in the past – and it is up to us to put things right.

‘I would like to stay to be honest.

‘I have not heard anything, so we will see what comes.

‘I know it sounds weird but it is still early days about my contract so I am not worrying.

‘My glass is always half full and – from my perspective – I would like to stay to help Portsmouth.’

Ertl took over the captain’s armband from the injured Brian Howard for Pompey’s most recent two outings.

With Howard having now left Fratton, Ertl will be in the frame once again for the clash with Hartlepool on Saturday.

Despite the club’s lowly league position, though, he remains cheerfully optimistic over the future.

Ertl added: ‘As captain I just want to bring a positive spirit to the team – that is my own task right now.

‘We have 20 games to go until the end of the season and everything is possible.

‘Everybody knows we are in a difficult situation and a clean and fresh new start is needed at this club.

‘But this is where we are and we have got to make the best out of it.’