Kenny Jackett on contract issues during Portsmouth promotion slump

Kenny Jackett has dismissed suggestions that ongoing uncertainty over player contracts is impacting upon Pompey performances.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:26 am
The contracts of Kenny Jackett and 11 of his first-team squad expire in the summer. Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues have taken four points from a possible 15 during an abject run of form, devastating their automatic promotion chances.

Meanwhile, 11 Pompey players are embroiled in an uncertain future, with existing Fratton Park deals scheduled to expire at the season’s end.

They include skipper Tom Naylor, Jack Whatmough, Craig MacGillivray, Andy Cannon, Ryan Williams, Ben Close, Jordy Hiwula, Haji Mnoga and Charlie Daniels.

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Yet Jackett doesn’t believe the contract scenario is affecting his players’ focus.

He told The News: ‘We are aware of the contracts up at the moment.

‘However, everyone is concentrating on the main opportunity ahead of us over the next couple of months – which is trying to get promotion and winning a Wembley final.

‘It’s an exciting time condensed into two months where we are not necessarily playing catch up. We are right in the middle of it and all of our concentration is on that.

‘Every player will be thinking about his own contractual and individual situation, but, similarly, they know that Pompey comes first and achieving for the club is what we’re here to do and what we get paid to do.

‘Putting the club first is the important thing – and giving your all for the club and your team-mates.

‘I have been consulted on contracts. Every player and contract is discussed from all angles, football and finance.

‘Latterly it is Mark Catlin and Tony Brown who are involved, quite rightly should come from the board of directors.

‘The players are aware of contractual situations, I am sure, but there’s a bigger picture with the opportunity we have at this particular stage of the season.’

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Other players out of contract in the summer are Bryn Morris, who is presently on loan at Northampton, and third-choice keeper Duncan Turnbull.

Although in the cases of Close, Cannon, Mnoga and Turnbull, Pompey possesses an option to extend their stays by another 12 months.

As for Jackett, he is also out of contract at the season’s end.

In November 2017, his existing deal was extended until June 2021 – leaving his ongoing Fratton Park presence also uncertain.

He added: ‘For myself, I am very focused on what is here and now.

‘We are fifth in the league, have 15 games left and a Wembley final. We want to find that winning equation, if we can.’

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