Portsmouth's hierarchy have driven a strong transfer window - now it's over to John Mousinho

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Three signings in the final four days marked a busy end to a crucial window

As latest signing Tom McIntyre addressed the media for the first time, Pompey’s next recruit was being shepherded through a nearby door.

The hooded top did its best to obscure Owen Moxon’s presence at their Hilsea training ground, yet there was no mistaking agent and former Middlesbrough man Graham Kavanagh accompanying him.

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The Fratton faithful had longed for a quickening of pace in the transfer window. Ultimately, it became a conveyor belt of new arrivals.

A flurry of fresh faces - three in the final four days - completed a strong January of recruitment for Pompey to lift those festive blues.

Myles Peart-Harris was one of five Pompey signings in the January window. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImagesMyles Peart-Harris was one of five Pompey signings in the January window. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages
Myles Peart-Harris was one of five Pompey signings in the January window. Picture: Jason Brown/ProSportsImages | Jason Brown/ProSportsImages

This would be a window pivotal to promotion hopes, particularly following the traditional Christmas slump. While all eyes were on Michael Eisner and his willingness to fund team ambition.

If sporting director Rich Hughes and John Mousinho ever believed merely a little tickering was required, their sights had to be swiftly readjusted as a direct consequence.

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A frustrating return of five points from six matches amid declining form had dredged up doubts and concerns as the swaggering League One leaders began to stumble.

Coupled with Alex Robertson’s season-ending injury, the Blues were challenged with bringing in first-team ready performers capable of revitalising flagging spirits on and off the pitch.

Andy Cullen and Hughes had targeted emerging from the window stronger than when they entered. Bearing that in mind, the outcome can be considered a success. Certainly on paper.

Pompey had consistently reiterated they were not in the market for a striker, despite Colby Bishop’s drop in form and Kusini Yengi’s Asian Cup commitments with Australia.

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Other positions, however, were glaringly short - and have undoubtedly been addressed.

The calamitous showing of Ryan Schofield in December’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy encounter with AFC Wimbledon suddenly rendered the signing of a new number two absolutely imperative.

A solid display in the previous round at Leyton Orient suggested the former Huddersfield man had composed himself after a shaky start to his Blues career. Sadly, that optimism proved ill-judged.

His replacement was Matt Macey, a free agent following his Luton departure by mutual consent. Last season’s first-choice keeper under Mousinho had returned as an impressive back-up.

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The necessity to recruit another centre-half had been obvious since the outstanding Regan Poole’s injury at Chesterfield in November - and absolutely no reflection on a rejuvenated Sean Raggett.

With three central defenders on their books, a fourth was deemed essential, with George Edmundson an initial frontrunner and Ipswich open to the suggestion - until he re-established himself in their first-team.

Instead Tom McIntyre, another high on their wanted list, was captured for a bargain £75,000. Described as a ball-playing left-sided defender, he featured 38 times in the Championship last term.

Elsewhere, the poor form of Gavin Whyte and Anthony Scully’s recent return from knee surgery, ensured Pompey’s wide options required bolstering.

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The solution has been Callum Lang, an energetic, hard-working, versatile attacker with Championship experience and League One promotion on his CV. His instant impact at Oxford demonstrated rich promise.

With Robertson ruled out for the remainder of the campaign and Tino Anjorin still not back in training, along with ongoing struggles for goals and creativity, an attacking central midfielder capable of operating as a number 10 was needed.

Pompey had to be patient to recruit Myles Peart-Harris, courtesy of being named in 11 successive first-team squads for Brentford, but the return of Ivan Toney finally signalled the green light.

Finally, on deadline day, Carlisle’s Moxon arrived as the fifth and final signing - and the third requiring a transfer fee.

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The central midfielder had scooped numerous player of the season honours as Carlisle won promotion from League Two last season and is a timely acquisition following Joe Morrell’s worrying injury and Tom Lowery’s poor availability record.

There was almost a last-gasp sixth recruit too, with the Blues pursuing an unnamed young promising player on a permanent deal, only to fall through at his parent club’s end.

Of course, at this moment in time, nobody can be certain Pompey’s five new recruits will come off and finally usher the club back into the Championship from this existing position of strength.

Yet what is irrefutable is that this current bunch are no Sylvain Deslandes, James Vaughan, Lloyd Isgrove, Bryn Morris, Charlie Daniels or Tyler Walker.

Eisner, Hughes and the departing Phil Boardman have played their part. Now it’s over to Mousinho.

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