'It's about a sweet spot': Rich Hughes puts the record straight on Portsmouth's transfer window strategy

Pompey’s busy summer recruitment drive will not be dominated by promising youngsters.
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That’s the reassurance from Rich Hughes, who is adamant senior players are also high on the Blues’ wish list when the transfer window reopens on June 10.

Ryley Towler and Paddy Lane were added permanently to John Mousinho’s squad in January, representing highly-regarded young talent.

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It’s a policy Pompey are keen to embrace, moulding the future of the club while potentially allowing them to cash in should a player’s development attract transfer interest.

However, sporting director Hughes insists that won’t be at the expense of signing more experienced players – with a balance required to achieve success.

He told The News: ‘Do we want to sign young players who are going to help the football club? Yes, absolutely.

‘There’s a natural by-product that they also generate value, which again is part of how football works.

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‘But, as much as we want to sign people like Ryley and Paddy – and they have shown their worth – we also want to recruit players who can go straight into the XI and help the team be really successful.

Ryley Towler, now aged 21, has proven an excellent capture from Bristol City following his January arrival. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesRyley Towler, now aged 21, has proven an excellent capture from Bristol City following his January arrival. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Ryley Towler, now aged 21, has proven an excellent capture from Bristol City following his January arrival. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

‘In terms of January, we prioritised some of the younger players purely because of the nature of what we had in the building going forward.

‘There were a lot of senior players already here, so we were able to bring in some good younger ones.

‘But you need balance for success and we must add to our really good senior pros, while also bringing in some exciting young talent. Both are equally as important for us to progress – it’s not just going to be a lot of under-23 signings.

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‘In January, we had some really good senior players in the group in Colby Bishop, Marlon Pack, Tom Lowery, Joe Morrell, Sean Raggett and Joe Rafferty.

‘We were then able to blend that squad a little and bring in Ryley and Paddy at 20 and 21 at the time, who both affected the team straight away.

‘I suppose that’s the sweet spot. If they can help us achieve success next year, whether they are 19 or 29, we are open to both.’

Pompey are targeting adding 9-10 players to their squad this summer.

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And among those they are eyeing up are 22-year-old Di’Shon Bernard and 28-year-old Matt Macey, who have both impressed while on loan.

Hughes added: ‘We do want some good young players because it’s exciting.

‘If you asked the fans who they've enjoyed watching, I know Ryley has become an almost cult hero straight away as a young player that has achieved success.

‘Di’Shon also came in on loan, doing really well, and it’s young – and senior players – affecting your team to make it successful next year.’