Bullish Portsmouth growing in confidence about keeping Wigan target Jamal Lowe
Pompey are increasingly bullish about keeping Jamal Lowe at Fratton Park.
The News understands Wigan’s most recent bid for the unsettled winger weighed in at £2.6m.
Yet, following that rejection, boss Paul Cook is faced with conceding defeat in his long-running pursuit.
The Championship club have still to meet Pompey’s £3m valuation of last season’s 17-goal top scorer.
And a resolute Blues refuse to budge from that price tag as they strive to keep hold of their prized asset.
Despite Lowe and his agent having intimated they favour a move to the Latics, Pompey are adamant any departure would be on their terms.
It’s a belligerent stance which has frustrated Cook and the player – but chief executive Mark Catlin is standing firm.
The arrival of Marcus Harness, for a fee approaching £1m, has been seen by many supporters as designed to replace Lowe.
Yet Pompey have been keen to stress they see both attacking players lining up in the same team to offer explosive goal-scoring options.
Certainly the message is also a statement to Wigan, who may feel the Burton winger's signing opens the door for Lowe to now depart.
Regardless, Catlin is refusing to consider deviating from the £3m figure pinned to the former Hampton & Richmond man.
It means time is ticking down to the August 8 transfer deadline for clubs from outside League One and League Two.
That includes Wigan, whose hopes are beginning to fade as they continue to baulk at finding the additional £400,000 required to clinch their long-standing target.
With Pompey not needing to sell in financial terms and having the comfort of two years remaining on Lowe’s contract, they are relaxed with the situation.
In addition, Kenny Jackett is keen to retain a player who last season was named in the PFA League One Team of the Year.
The ongoing presence of the talented Lowe would undoubtedly boost the Blues’ promotion aspirations.
Having last week been granted five days off, a spell which included the Hawks friendly, he returned for Saturday’s 1-0 win at Stevenage.
Lowe, who featured for the full 90 minutes, set up Ronan Curtis for the only goal of the game against the League Two hosts.
Despite frustration at the summer-long transfer saga, Pompey are realistic what the 25-year-old can offer – and, considering his ability, that could be promotion.
Wigan, however, can still resolve the impasse by increasing their latest bid to meet the Fratton Park valuation.
The Blues privately acknowledge that would enter the realms of too good to turn down.
As it stands, though, Wigan fans’ hopes are fading – and Pompey’s confidence is rising.