Portsmouth target an unused substitute in Stoke's opener at Millwall

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Pompey target Harry Souttar was an unused substitute in Stoke's 2020-21 Championship curtain-raiser against Millwall on Saturday.

The centre-back was named on the bench by Michael O'Neill at the Den.

However, he wasn't required to feature in the 0-0 draw, with the Potters boss opting for a back three of James Chester, Danny Batth and Bruno Martins Indi.

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The Australia international impressed during the past one-and-a-half seasons on loan at Fleetwood.

He was widely regarded as one of the best central defenders in League One last term as Joey Barton's men suffered play-off semi-final defeat to Wycombe.

While Pompey have been pursuing a move for Souttar, he impressed over the pre-season period and is being kept at Stoke for the meantime.

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Harry Souttar. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty ImagesHarry Souttar. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images
Harry Souttar. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

As things stand, it appears Souttar's next in line in central defence at the bet365 Stadium.

Liam Lindsay was omitted from the Potters' match-day squad against Millwall, although there were no reports the former Barnsley man was injured.

Speaking after the draw, O'Neill admitted he picked the squad he felt had impressed him most in pre-season.

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He told the Stoke Sentinel: ‘It means I’ve got too many players. It’s as simple as that. We’ve known that for some time.

‘We’ve had seven players return to the club since being out on loan and we actually still have one here who wasn’t able to play today in Ryan Woods.

‘The 18 players we picked today are, for me, the players who have done the most in pre-season and deserve to be in the squad at this minute in time.’

Jack Whatmough and Sean Raggett started in central defence for Pompey's League One opener - a disappointing goalless stalemate against Shrewsbury at Fratton Park.

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The Blues' other recognised centre-half option, Paul Downing, was again left out of the match-day squad, with the versatile James Bolton providing cover on the bench.

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