Stepping into Kenny Jackett’s shoes: five centre-backs Portsmouth should consider this summer 

Curtis Nelson challenges Raheem Sterling during Oxford's Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City earlier this season. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Curtis Nelson challenges Raheem Sterling during Oxford's Carabao Cup defeat to Manchester City earlier this season. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images
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Pompey are looking to sign a centre-back this summer. 

That’s irrespective of whether prized-asset Matt Clarke leaves after the Blues failed to be promoted into the Championship.

Ryan Tafazolli has departed Peterborough. Picture: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ryan Tafazolli has departed Peterborough. Picture: Alex Pantling/Getty Images

However, most members of the Fratton faithful are bracing themselves for the former Ipswich defender’s departure. 

Clarke also admitted his future was uncertain after League One play-off semi-final defeat to Sunderland.

Kenny Jackett will no doubt have drawn up a list of central defenders he’ll have on his shopping list.

But we take a step into the Pompey boss’ shoes and list five names he should be considering...

Tom Lockyer

James Vaughan was accused of landing a punch Anthony Joshua would have been proud of on Lockyer during Pompey's 1-1 draw with Bristol Rovers in February.

The former Gas captain has departed the Memorial Stadium after admitting he remained there for two years too long.

Lockyer made 238 appearances for Rovers over an eight-year spell and has been capped by Wales five times. This term, he featured in every minute to help Graham Coughlan’s side to a 15th-place finish. 

The Cardiff-born man has revealed he is in discussions with four Championship clubs – Nottingham Forest reportedly one – as well a few League One teams.

Curtis Nelson

The former England under-18 international is another who looks set to be available on a free transfer this summer.

Nelson has been offered a new deal at Oxford United but seems unlikely to extend his stay.

The 25-year-old has a desire to play in the Championship and U’s boss Karl Robinson revealed Nelson’s decision about his future won't be about money.

The former Plymouth defender scored four goals in 55 appearances for Oxford this season. 

Ryan Tafazolli

The highly-regarded centre-half turned down fresh terms at Peterborough as long ago as August of last year and has departed.

Standing at 6ft 5inch, he’s a towering defender who has plenty of League One experience under his belt.

Working his way up from non-league to the third tier, with spells at the likes of Cambridge City and Concord Rangers, the 27-year-old is established at this level and was well rated by Posh supporters. 

Kean Bryan

While Pompey fans would rather a permanent arrival, a loan from a Premier League outfit may also suffice.

Bryan may want to have a go at featuring in the top flight for Sheffield United next season. But considering he made just one appearance during the Blades’ Championship promotion-winning season, that seems unlikely. 

The 22-year-old moved to Bramall Lane from Manchester City last summer, after having loan spells at Bury and Oldham.

United boss Chris Wilder believes Bryan has a big future ahead but surely he’ll want him out playing regular football next term. 

Given Pompey could lose Clarke’s ability to foray out of the back with the ball at his feet, former box-to-box midfielder Bryan could fill that void. 

Paul Downing

The 27-year-old felt play-off semi-final heartbreak with Doncaster at Charlton on Friday night.

Downing spent the second half of the season at the Keepmoat Stadium after being deemed surplus to requirements by Blackburn.

He’s subsequently been released by Rovers and is now weighing up his future.

Downing was on Pompey’s radar in January before moving to Donny.

He featured 22 times for Grant McCann’s side in their failed promotion bid.

However, he knows what it takes to go up into the Championship, making 33 appearances when Blackburn finished second in League One in 2017-18.