Portsmouth chief sounds warning over Championship transfer battle with Leeds United, Sunderland, West Brom & Co

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Andy Cullen warned Pompey are now scaling steeper transfer terrain in the Championship.

And that is going to present new challenges, as the Blues go up against some of the game’s heavy-hitters.

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But the chief executive reiterated a conviction his club aren’t returning to the second tier happy to be bit-part players - and that stretches to transfer battle.

Pompey are ploughing on with their recruitment plans behind the scenes, ahead of the window opening on June 14.

The stated intention has been to hit the ground running in a similar vein to last year, when the majority of deals were in place by the time the team headed to Spain for their training camp at the start of July.

A significant factor this time, however, are Pompey are competing against bigger names after raising the bar when it comes to the calibre of player required.

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The recruitment team have had clarity about the target list they’re working to, since the title was secured against Barnsley on April 16.

But that’s not been echoed everywhere else, with the regular Championship season not finishing until May 4 - and the division’s line-up confirmed only after the play-off final last weekend.

That’s meant a lack of clarity over player availability in some quarters, as rivals get their own houses in order over retained lists.

There has been plenty of transfer activity in the EFL, but very little of that has taken place in the Championship to date.

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Cullen highlighted how things have changed for Pompey’s recruitment, but insisted there’s a determination to stand toe-to-toe against their transfer rivals.

He said: ‘I think a number of deals which have been done far, you will see have been done in League One and League Two.

‘We are in a different market now. It’s a different market in the Championship to League One.

‘It’s a different type of player we are looking at compared to where we were last year.

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‘The competition for a Championship player becomes much stronger as well. Naturally it will do.

‘We’re in a league now where players (they are trying to sign) will have interest from Championship clubs. Last year we were competing strongly against League One clubs. for the most part.

‘There were a couple of cases where we brought in players who had Championship interest, and we were very pleased to get those across the line. Now we’re more or less in the market where we’re in that mix.

‘But we’re not in the Championship to make up the numbers - we’re looking at every area we can improve.’

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