Portsmouth target Bristol Rovers’ Tom Lockyer as potential Matt Clarke replacement

In-demand Tom Lockyer has emerged as a Pompey target as Kenny Jackett seeks to bolster his central defence. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images
In-demand Tom Lockyer has emerged as a Pompey target as Kenny Jackett seeks to bolster his central defence. Picture: Pete Norton/Getty Images
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Pompey are in the hunt for Bristol Rovers’ Tom Lockyer.

And the Blues are hopeful former team-mate Lee Brown can help lure the central defender to Fratton Park.

With his Memorial Stadium contract to expire next month, Lockyer is proving in demand during the early stages of the summer transfer window.

The 24-year-old has made 284 appearances and scored seven times for the Pirates since emerging through their youth ranks.

However, he has set his sights on a fresh challenge and already bid farewell to the League One outfit.

It is understood Pompey are among the lengthy list of clubs chasing Lockyer, although face stiff competition from the Championship, including Nottingham Forest.

Kenny Jackett will lose Matt Clarke this summer and, with Jack Whatmough sidelined, was already short of a centre-half.

The Blues’ hopes of offering Championship football last week ended following their play-off semi-final elimination at the hands of Sunderland.

However, ex-colleague Brown made the move last summer and has enjoyed a fine maiden season on the south coast, racking up 51 appearances.

Certainly Pompey are banking on Brown putting in persuasive words to tempt Lockyer to Fratton Park ahead of a number of other options.

Although the Welsh defender’s last visit to the Blues ended with a facial injury following a clash with James Vaughan in February’s 1-1 draw.

Rovers’ management were incensed Vaughan was not punished for the flashpoint, with the substitute escaping without so much as a booking.

Lockyer this season made 48 appearances and scored four goals, as Graham Coughlan’s side finished 15th in League One.

And he’s on Pompey’s radar to bolster a defence which will not contain Clarke next season.