A keeper or Tom Naylor back-up - where should Portsmouth prioritise final January piece of business?

Monday’s 11pm deadline approaches as Pompey aim to complete their mid-season transfer business.

Wednesday, 27th January 2021, 6:37 pm

The window closes on February 1, with the Blues having to register their 22-man squad for the remainder of the season shortly afterwards.

So far, Harvey White (Tottenham), Charlie Daniels (Shrewsbury) and George Byers (Swansea) have arrived at Fratton Park.

Meanwhile, Reeco Hackett-Fairchild and Bryn Morris departed on loan to Southend and Northampton respectively.

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Kenny Jackett’s weighing up one final recruit before the window shuts in a bid to bolster his side's League One promotion bid.

Pompey will consider de-registering keeper Duncan Turnbull to free up a squad berth and therefore accommodate a fresh face.

We take a look at which positions the Blues could look to strengthen if that is the case.

A goalkeeper

Pompey don't have any like-for-like cover for Tom Naylor as things stand. Pictire: Graham Hunt

As things stand, it’s the position that looks most likely would take up the final spot.

Craig MacGillivray is again undisputed No1, having wrestled back the jersey from Alex Bass after being dropped last season.

However, there are some concerns that Pompey would be short if MacGillivray did suffer injury.

Bass is currently on the treatment table with a calf problem and has missed the past five games.

He’s due to be back at the start of February but that’s providing there are no setbacks along the way during his rehab.

The Blues don’t want to leave themselves short of experience in such a crucial and specialist department.

Duncan Turnbull’s been serving on the bench in Bass’ place but he is a rookie keeper who’s made just one senior appearance in the Papa John’s Trophy.

Nineteen-year-old Taylor Seymour falls into the same category, despite being well rated by Jackett.

A Tom Naylor replacement

It’s the one player that Pompey are perhaps lacking like-for-like cover for in the current squad.

Naylor’s very much the police enforcer in the middle of the park, going around sniffing out danger and putting out fires.

Despite recruiting George Byers and Harvey White – from Swansea and Tottenham respectively – neither are renowned defensive midfielders and are more attack-minded.

Naylor’s the lynchpin to the current side and if he suffered an injury then it’d put the Blues in trouble.

Pompey have been looking at Torino’s Michel Ndary Adopo to potentially come in and play back-up to Naylor.

The Frenchman wouldn’t count towards salary cap rules because he’s under-21 but new Brexit regulations threaten a deal.

However, Jackett could turn his attention elsewhere but it may have to be a player over 21 who’d serve as Naylor’s deputy.

A right-winger

Ryan Williams has been occupying a central attacking role of late, forging a good partnership with John Marquis in the 4-4-2 formation.

That’s meant Marcus Harness has reverted to operating out wide, despite impressing when playing as a striker earlier in the season.

Perhaps Harness could do with some respite to top up his energy levels to ensure he doesn’t suffer burnout towards the end of a condensed campaign.

Therefore, there’s potential for someone to come and provide competition on the right flank.

A striker

It was on deadline day two years ago when James Vaughan signed on loan for the rest of the season.

Jackett wanted to ensure all positions were well covered, despite already having Oli Hawkins, Brett Pitman and Omar Bogle able to lead the line.

Pompey currently have three striking options. John Marquis is first choice and top scorer with 13 goals while Ellis Harrison has regularly been used from the bench.

Jackett could take his approach of 2019 again if the right frontman did become available.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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