Portsmouth's January transfer window: five centre-backs who could fit the bill

Pompey are targeting a centre-back during the January transfer window.

Tuesday, 31st December 2019, 5:30 am

Kenny Jackett is keen to bolster his rearguard – and preferably the player identified will be a natural left-footer to give his side more balance.

The boss has admitted loan deals will also be more likely, which leaves him with two options in the transfer market.

Either the Blues will have to recruit a player who's currently surplus to requirements at their current club or try to sign a fledgling talent getting a taste of senior football.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

While Shrewsbury’s Aaron Pierre is one Pompey have monitored, here’s a look at five central defenders who could also fit the bill...

Kean Bryan – Sheffield United

Reports in Sheffield suggest Blades boss Chris Wilder is ready to send the 23-year-old out on loan.

Having moved to Bramall Lane from Manchester City in June 2018, Bryan has found first-team opportunities difficult to come by at the high-flying Premier League side.

Kean Bryan is reportedly set to depart Sheffield United on loan in January. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Kean Bryan is reportedly set to depart Sheffield United on loan in January. Picture: Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Across one-and-a-half seasons, he's featured for United just three times – all of which have been in cup competitions.

Yet he is a player with League One experience, having spent 2017-18 on loan at Oldham.

Bryan ticks the box of being left-footed and is also capable of operating as a holding midfielder.

The one caveat is that his partner – former Coronation Street actor Brooke Vincent – has recently given birth to their first child and they may be reluctant to relocate south.

Blackpool defender Curtis Tilt Picture: Jack Thomas/Getty Images

Curtis Tilt - Blackpool

Pompey had the 28-year-old on their radar during the summer, joining Rotherham in keeping tabs on the defender.

He remained at Bloomfield Road, although he hasn't been a regular under Simon Grayson this term.

Ben Heneghan and Ryan Edwards have been the Seasiders boss’ preferred centre-back partnership of late, with Tilt an unused substitute in their past three games.

He's out of contract at the end of the campaign so would command a fee, but it wouldn’t be as substantial as six months ago.

Sean McLoughlin – Hull City

Pompey were linked with a switch for the Irishman in the summer from Cork before he joined the Tigers.

McLoughlin was immediately sent out on loan to St Mirren for the first half of the season to gain more first-team experience.

The former Republic of Ireland under-21 international has been a key player for the Buddies and has scored once in 21 appearances.

Hull boss Grant McCann's plan was for McLoughlin to return to the KCOM Stadium where he’d be ready for the physical demands of the Championship.

But with the Tigers pushing for the play-offs, McCann may not want to thrust the 23-year-old straight into the deep end.

That could open up the possibility of getting McLoughlin regular action in League One during the second half of the campaign.

Ciaron Brown – Cardiff

The 21-year-old was handed a shock Northern Ireland senior debut in their 1-0 friendly win over Luxembourg in September.

Brown moved to Cardiff from non-league Wealdstone in January 2018 after impressing during a trial period.

He’s featured just once for the Bluebirds, although he had a successful loan stint at Scottish Premiership side Livingston during the second half of last term.

Cardiff boss Neil Harris has recently talked about having a long-term plan for his promising prospects and that may result in Brown again heading out on loan in January.

George Johnston – Feyenoord

Johnston departed Liverpool last summer as he couldn't see many first-team opportunities despite captaining their under-23 side.

He made a surprise move to Dutch giants Feyenoord for £500,000 in August, but he’s also had to bide his time and is still to make his debut.

Johnston is someone Ross McCrorie will know fairly well given they’re both Scotland under-21 regulars.

Should his situation not change, Feyenoord head coach Dick Advocaat may decide that he wants to get the 21-year-old regular football for the rest of the campaign.