Portsmouth boss reveals how his 12 out-of-contract players could offer a route to reshaping squad in January window

Danny Cowley believes his swathe of out-of-contract players next summer could offer the chance to reshape his squad in January.

The Pompey boss has indicated he could hold talks with squad members who aren’t featuring by the new year over their futures, if their deals come to a close at the end of the campaign.

A sizeable 12 players among Cowley’s 26 first-team players fall into that category, with five players also currently on loan at Fratton Park.

Paul Downing, Sean Raggett, Lee Brown, Marcus Harness, Reeco Hackett, Shaun Williams, Jayden Reid, Michael Jacobs, Louis Thompson, Jay Mingi, John Marquis and Ellis Harrison are the men in question.

Pompey chief executive Andy Cullen last week told of the need to be ‘creative’ when tinkering with the squad in the new year, with the club already over-spending on the existing budget.

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Cowley has made it clear how recruitment staff are already ploughing ahead with work, with the 42-year-old looking to add some young ‘athleticism and power’ to his options.

The Londoner has been running the rule over Arsenal’s young, emerging talent with an eye to improving his squad in that department.

(From left) Michael Jacobs, Ellis Harrison and Paul Downing are three players who see their contracts end next summer.

But it appears players would need to be moved on to engineer further arrivals, after 15 new faces came in this summer amid 18 departures.

Cowley said: ‘You never know what January could like for some who are not playing and out of contract next summer, it could be different.

‘It’s always been different for me in the past when you have honest conversations with the players as well.

‘Time will tell what will happen.’

It’s clear coming to agreements over paying up contracts for those nearing the end of their deals and not featuring, would free up some of Cowley’s playing budget.

But the head coach made it clear his first preference would be for out-of-contract squad members to do enough to warrant talks over extensions.

Cowley has already endured a frenetic first transfer window as Pompey boss, and would hope to avoid another massive overhaul next summer if possible.

He added: ‘You hope the players who are here fight their way into the team.

‘If that happens it’s a different conversation in January, and you’re looking to extend their contracts.

‘That’s what we all hope.

‘It would be a lot easier for me to go into the summer with 15 or 16 signed on and maybe bring six in.

‘I didn’t get paid double for bringing 15 in this summer!’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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