Portsmouth boss won’t rule out Thompson return – but focus now is on replacement

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Kenny Jackett hasn’t ruled out a future Fratton Park reunion with Ben Thompson.

But in the present, Pompey are searching to fill the gulf left by the outstanding midfielder’s exit.

Ben Thompson has returned to parent club Millwall

Ben Thompson has returned to parent club Millwall

The FA Cup triumph at Carrow Road proved to be Thompson’s final act as a Blues player, with Millwall activating their recall option.

It deprives Jackett of one of his most impressive performers during the ongoing occupation of League One’s top spot.

With 27 games and three goals, the 23-year-old established himself as a massive Fratton favourite.

Pompey have had enquiries for a permanent deal in the transfer window rebuffed by Millwall.

Now Jackett’s squad strengthening must turn elsewhere – for now.

Pompey’s boss said: ‘I don’t know if Ben will return this window, it is obviously Millwall’s call and we appreciate them letting him come out.

‘He had a great loan and hopefully we have helped them in regards of his development.

‘If they decide to let him out again, obviously we would be interested, it goes without saying. But really what the future brings for him now is down to Neil (Harris) and Millwall.

‘It’s a hard call talking about our future interest seeing as he is in Millwall’s group and their squad planning.

‘Would we be interested if he became available? Yes we would. But we now concentrate on what we can affect.

‘We have to be in a situation where we try to cover the gap that is going to be there.

‘We have signed Andy Cannon and if there are players out there who can help us in any position, not just midfield, then that is something we want to do.

‘I would suggest over the course of this window it would be quality not quantity.

‘I don’t think we need a huge number of players, but somebody who can improve or bring a complement.’

Despite an impressive debut against Oxford United, it wouldn’t be until October before Thompson became a regular starter.

Since then he has been a pivotal presence.

Jackett added: ‘Ben built up well from coming in and not having had a high amount of games.

‘After being a little bit leggy in the first couple of matches he gained his confidence, his match fitness and then went from strength to strength.

‘When a player says he played the best form of his career here that is terrific. Ben’s a young player who has a lot of promise – and we wish him well for the future.’