The factors which may instantly scupper Portsmouth's reported interest in Gillingham's highly-regarded Jack Tucker

Steve Evans’ desire to reunite his favoured central-defensive partnership may scupper Pompey’s reported pursuit of Jack Tucker.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 6:30 pm
Gillingham's Jack Tucker has been linked with a move to Pompey. Picture: James Chance
Gillingham's Jack Tucker has been linked with a move to Pompey. Picture: James Chance

While three high-profile summer Gillingham departures could also wreck any interest Danny Cowley may have in the 21-year-old.

Cited as an opening offer, it is anticipated that figure must rise significantly to capture a mainstay of the Gillingham side.

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In addition, boss Evans wants to pair Tucker with the returning Max Ehmer.

The Gills last week announced Ehmer had rejoined the club – 12 months after departing for Bristol Rovers.

The former QPR apprentice’s two-year contract was cancelled after falling foul of Rovers manager Joey Barton.

As a consequence, he is now back at the Priestfield Stadium, thereby throwing up the possibility of linking up with Tucker once more.

Tucker’s best form has been alongside Ehmer, with the youngster’s performances subsequently dipping a little in the second half of last season.

Asked to partner Bristol City loanee Robbie Cundy, among others, it’s an area which didn’t quite click for Gillingham last season.

However, the Tucker/Cundy axis did collect a 1-1 Fratton Park draw in February.

Still, Tucker made 50 appearances last season as Evans’ side finished 10th in League One – just five points off Pompey.

Interestingly, he was an unused substitute when the Blues won 2-0 at the Priestfield Stadium in October 2020, through goals from John Marquis and Michael Jacobs.

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Despite being aged 21, the centre-half has amassed 87 appearances and two goals since his October 2017 debut.

Coincidentally, the opposition that day was Pompey, with Tucker introduced for Ben Nugent at half-time.

However, Kenny Jackett’s men ran out 1-0 winners, through a matchwinner from Matt Kennedy in the Sky encounter.

Since then, he has been crowned the Kent side’s young player of the season, while supposedly a bid from an unnamed Championship has been rejected in recent years.

Meanwhile, this summer has seen the departures of Jack Bonham, Jordan Graham and Connor Ogilvie.

All were first-team regulars and have left Gillingham on free transfers upon the expiry of their contracts.

It is believed that Tucker has 12 months remaining on the deal he last signed in December 2020, although the length was not stated by his club.

Nonetheless, the Gills will be determined not to let the talented youngster leave on the cheap. They will also be determined to keep him following such high-profile losses.

What’s more, they will be determined to retain him so that central-defensive partnership with Ehmer can be reunited.

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