Portsmouth dealt another blow over key appointment as saga continues with Cambridge United, Oxford United and Forest Green Rovers setbacks

Pompey are facing having to reset their head of football operations hunt.

By Jordan Cross
Thursday, 19th May 2022, 1:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th May 2022, 7:39 pm

It means Pompey now have to go back to the drawing board after highlighting their two key candidates, following a two months of interviewing and undertaking due diligence on those in the frame.

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The process is being overseen by chief executive Andy Cullen, who will now take counsel from Danny Cowley and other key players at the club over the way forward.

Cullen has an extensive network of contacts throughout football he will once again call upon to identify the next in line for the position.

Another man who was being considered was Oxford United’s Mark Thomas.

A move for the U’s head of recruitment and performance analysis never accelerated, however, with Thomas happy in his role at the Kassam Stadium.

Pompey are having to reset their head of football operations hunt. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages

He is a man familiar with Pompey after spending four years at the club as an analyst, before going up the A34 to join Michael Appleton in 2014.

Thomas’ standing in the game has grown in his near eight years at Oxford, where the club have a long record of bringing in players and then moving them on in multi-million pound deals.

Kemar Roofe, Marvin Johnson, Rob Dickie, Gavin Whyte and Rob Atkinson are just some of those who fall into that category.

Thomas now potentially has the opportunity to work with an increased kitty next season when it comes to identifying talent, with Indonesian investors looking to up their stake in his club.

Former Pompey boss Andy Awford is another figure who’s been touted for the head of football operations position, after departing from his position as Luton academy and development manager last month.

The wait to bring in the figure for the position will be a source of frustration to those at Pompey, with Cowley calling for reform in the structure of the football operation at the club.

The reality is it will have little impact on the this summer’s efforts to strengthen the squad, with the existing football and recruitment staff taking that process forward.

But it’s now three months since Roberto Gagliardi’s departure was confirmed, as he took up a role with Southampton’s owners Sports Republic.

The position is seen as important in overseeing strategy and development when it comes to recruitment, performance, sports science, coaching, analysis and the club’s academy.