Portsmouth rivals Bolton to 'trust' Ian Evatt as Leeds and West Brom battle over £3m-rated defender

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Portsmouth’s former League One rivals have been sent a strong message by their chairman ahead of 2024/25 campaign

Pompey can soon begin their summer transfer window trading as the market opens on June 14. Plenty of names have been linked with the Fratton Park squad as John Mousinho looks to strengthen a club competing in the Championship for the first time in 12 years.

One name flying around has been Altrincham’s Chris Conn-Clarke but the National League side club have warned that their star attacker will not be sold cheaply and the club’s director of football Rob Evasta has confirmed: “We have received a couple of offers already, but they have been turned down. The reality is we won’t let him go if teams don’t meet our valuation, and the offers we have had so far don’t come close.”

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While the club assess their transfer options, here is the latest news from Pompey’s EFL rivals...

Pompey’s L1 rivals ‘trust’ manager

Bolton Wanderers suffered heart-break at the end of their 2023/24 campaign, losing 2-0 to Oxford United in the League One play-off final. While they will once again compete in the EFL third-tier next season, Ian Evatt appears to remain in charge of the club and the Wanderers’ chairman has asked the fans to trust that every decision is ‘in the best interest’ of the club.

Speaking to Bolton News, Chairman Sharon Brittan has asked the fans to continue backing their manager Ian Evatt as they once again try for promotion in the 2024/25 campaign.

“I need the supporters to trust me and know that every single thing I am doing is for the very best interest of the business,” she said. “Every decision I make is in the best interest of this football club. If I have to make tough decisions, I will absolutely make them. But I want the best people running this football club and I believe we have them.”

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The chairman also added the the club are not set to simply ‘go again’ this summer but are looking into any realistic improvements necessary to give the Wanderers the best possible chance next season.

“Ian and Chris excel in what they do. They certainly couldn’t put any more into it than they do. They both care hugely, they are incredibly respectful of money, of the way I run the business, they don’t make demands, they work within the parameters that me and the board offer them.

“We accept this season from a financial standpoint we will have to increase the investment to make sure we are up there, we are competitive. But I have to caveat that – because we were almost there, last season. Almost isn’t good enough but we were nearly there with the fifth biggest budget in League One, and that is because of how smart they work.”

Leeds and West Brom battle over Bundesliga ace

Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion are both said to be battling over the FC St Pauli defender Eric Smith, according to Sports Bladet. Smith, 27, played a huge role in helping his current side secure promotion to the Bundesliga at the end of the 2023/24 campaign and his defensive work and attacking contributions have caught the eye of several sides.

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His contract was set to expire this summer but in February 2023, a long-term deal was agreed to keep the Swedish international in Germany. Leeds and West Brom will now need to cough up a fee if they’re hopeful of bringing the defender to the EFL. Born in Sweden, the centre-back has played across Belgium, Norway and Sweden but is yet to play in England with Leeds head coach Daniel Farke and Baggies boss Carlos Corberan both intending for this to change following the conclusion of the summer transfer market.

Both the Whites and the Baggies are keen to strengthen their defensive set-ups this summer with Joe Rodon set to leave Elland Road at the end of his loan spell and West Brom about to undertake their first transfer window under new owner Shilen Patel. It is not yet known how much the German side will be hoping to secure for Smith’s signature, but he currently has a market value of £3million, according to TransferMarkt.

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