Mark Catlin reveals change in Portsmouth January transfer strategy

Pompey want instant first-team regulars recruited in January’s transfer window.

Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th November 2019, 5:36 pm

Mark Catlin has revealed the Blues are prioritising talent which can march straight into Kenny Jackett’s starting XI to bolster promotion ambitions.

The strategy contrasts with the transfer policy employed last January, when Pompey focused on strengthening the squad of a side which entered 2019 at League One's summit.

Despite six signings, Jackett’s team finished fourth and lost in the play-off semi-finals.

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However, with the Blues presently 13th, Catlin insists the hunt is on for players to immediately come into the team – and not supplement the substitutes’ bench.

Pompey's chief executive said: ‘We are working on players, it has been mentioned and we are not a club which hides.

‘In an ideal world, and we don’t live in an ideal world, rather than loans you are looking at bringing in a few players which can become your own.

Chief executive Mark Catlin insists Pompey's January transfer business will be focused on recruiting instant first-team starters. Picture: Joe Pepler

‘There are a couple of key areas Kenny is aware of and would like to strengthen, but we don’t want to be bringing in players just because of their name and what they have done elsewhere.

‘This year is going to be more focused, rather than general strengthening of the squad. We have strong depth, so it’s looking at key areas we feel we can improve on.

‘The strategy is not to bring in squad players for the run-in, it will be players who can come in and start for us.

‘We brought in six last January and, on paper, they looked very good. In reality, did it work out for all of them? No. But last year was more about squad strengthening.

‘The strategy this year is not about strengthening the squad, because our squad is very strong. It’s strengthening a couple of key areas.’

Of Pompey's six recruits last January, four arrived on loan.

They included Omar Bogle, James Vaughan, Viv Solomon-Otabor and Lloyd Isgrove.

And Catlin believes that transfer window was largely driven by the necessity to replace loanees who had departed.

He added: ‘Last January we lost some good players through our good form.

‘Up until Christmas, we were leading the league and Andre Green couldn’t get in the team. He went back to Aston Villa and helped them return to the Premier League.

‘Dave Wheeler came and then went to MK Dons, doing very well, getting them promoted.

‘I would argue Ben Thompson was the linchpin of the midfield and has gone on to prove himself as a top Championship player.

‘He was a victim of our own success, as were a few of them.’