Portsmouth boss' message to clubs ready to swoop for in-form midfielders

Kenny Jackett is confident he can protect his thriving midfield pairing from suitors.

Saturday, 23rd January 2021, 6:30 am

The Pompey boss backed Andy Cannon and Tom Naylor as being among the top League One performers, as they establish themselves as key cogs in the Blues’ promotion bid.

The duo are among 10 first-team players whose contracts come to a close this summer at Fratton Park.

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Both are established in Jackett’s starting XI and have been performing consistently as Pompey push for a Championship spot.

Cannon and Naylor are now free to speak to other clubs ahead of their contracts coming to a close this summer.

But Jackett is not fearful of losing the pair who are central to his team’s hopes of success this season.

He said: ‘We’ve had no calls for any of our players and we wouldn’t invite any, certainly at this late stage.

Tom Naylor and Andy Cannon. Photo by Daniel Chesterton/phcimages.com)

‘That’s not going to happen.

‘There’s some very strong midfield pairings across the division - and our two guys are up there definitely.

‘We’ve played 4-4-2 of late with two midfielders but different sides have different combinations from 4-3-3 to a 4-diamond-2.

‘Our two are up there definitely, but there’s definitely some very good midfield players in the division.’

With uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pompey are in a difficult situation when it comes to discussing the futures of their out-of-contract players.

The waters are further muddied by the wage cap and squad restriction in operation in League One - and there currently being no wage ceiling in the Championship.

These are all variables which impact the Blues significantly, and Jackett feels his players are understanding of those circumstances.

He added: ‘How the landscape looks in the summer we shall see, but we’re in constant contact though with the players we have, their overall situation and all of them are comfortable where they are.

‘We’ll see, but those players enjoy it at Pompey and like it here as well.

‘What the landscape looks like in the summer can change and is quite variable. Not just for us, but everybody.

‘That has to be considered and the players understand that.’

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