Portsmouth set sights on central-half addition in January transfer window - loan deals could be key

Pompey are in the hunt for a central defender when the January transfer window reopens.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 5:00 pm

And Kenny Jackett admitted any dealings are likely to be loans as he balances his playing budget.

The Blues boss is keen to bolster a back line which has already seen eight different centre-half pairings employed this season.

Pompey are already well-stocked with options, with Christian Burgess, Sean Raggett, Paul Downing and Oli Hawkins challenging.

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In addition, Jack Whatmough is making encouraging progress following long-term injury, while youngster Matt Casey is also on the books.

However, Jackett has struggled to nail down a dependable central-defensive partnership during a frustrating opening half to the campaign.

When asked about improving the centre-half area, Pompey’s boss conceded he’s ready to enter the market.

Jackett said: ‘Strengthening the back four positions with left footers and maybe a midfielder is where we are looking to.

Kenny Jackett is seeking to strengthen the centre of his defence in January. Picture: Daniel Chesterton/PinPep

‘We hope there’s good quality out there and whoever comes in can improve us, obviously that is our intention.

‘You want people who can make a difference straight away and there’s always the one for tomorrow.

‘People want to see signs of the first-team and we are the same, but also the bigger picture of the club sometimes is to tuck underneath and then can come through after six months.

‘I don’t think money will be spent, I think mainly it will be loans.

‘Departures would free things (finances), we would be looking to balance things off squad-wise. If we bring players in, there will be players going out.

‘Possibly one in, one out, although I wouldn’t say it has to be exact or set in stone.

‘I don't think we are suddenly going to up the (squad) numbers by five and nobody comes out, there has to be give and take.’

Following the June departure of Matt Clarke, Pompey have recruited Downing and Raggett to bolster central defensive options.

Yet both have struggled to establish themselves in the Blues side, particularly the out-of-favour Downing.

In addition, Hawkins has been asked to serve as a defender once more – after spending the whole of last term featuring as a striker.