Portsmouth battling to avoid Oxford United play-off showdown descending into player crisis

Pompey are facing a race against time to stop their play-off bid descending into crisis.

Monday, 22nd June 2020, 4:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd June 2020, 11:43 am

And there are pressing issues over securing the immediate futures of their first-choice central defensive pairing ahead of next week’s clash with Oxford United.

Out-of-contract Christian Burgess and loan defender Sean Raggett are both yet to have their participation in the play-offs confirmed.

And the Blues have until the close of play tomorrow to ensure those who are not already tied down sign short-term extensions.

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There is a desire from both defenders to feature against the U’s but their pathways to doing so are far from straightforward.

Burgess looks certain to join Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise next season and it remains to be seen if they are keen to see the 28-year-old risk picking up an injury before that move is finalised.

Raggett is out of contract with Norwich this summer, but the Canaries hold a year’s option on the man whose form has grown throughout the season.

The Premier League club could conceivably use that as leverage in agreeing a permanent deal before giving the green light for the 26-year-old to play

Christian Burgess and Sean Raggett have yet to have their participation in the play-offs confirmed. Picture by FRANK REID.

Meanwhile, an unnamed player continues to opt out of training as is the right of any person as part of the government guidelines for football returning amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jackett knows it could well be a frenetic period before he finds out which players he has available at the most critical moment in the season, but is hopeful over how things will unfold.

He said: ‘I need an update from the board of directors but we’re hoping for no problems in the next 24 hours.

‘He (Raggett) has been in training today after playing and playing well.

‘He’s formed a good partnership with Burgess and we’re very hopeful we can make sure everything is right.

‘Both players have been in today, trained well and seem happy. That’s a good sign.

‘It looks okay in terms of our players. They are committed, training and looking towards the Oxford game.

‘The deadline is tomorrow and we’re hoping for everything to be okay and have a fully fit squad.

‘Everyone’s working hard and been involved in the friendlies and training.

‘There’s that deadline but I’m positive that things will be okay.

‘I’ve got to say the board, Tony (Brown) and Mark (Catlin), are handing it and I’m not anticipating any problems. They are handing it and the boys have been here and are in good spirits.

‘We certainly hope we have everyone fit and available.’

Steve Seddon is already available for the play-offs after Pompey extended his stay from Championship Birmingham.

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