The transfer state of play at Portsmouth and what to expect before Tuesday night's January window deadline

John Mousinho said it himself – he expects Pompey to be ‘very, very busy’ in the run-up to Tuesday night’s 11pm transfer deadline.
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For the majority of the Fratton faithful that will be music to their ears after the 2-1 defeat to Peterborough on Saturday saw the Blues drop back to 11th in the League One table.

It was the new head coach’s first taste of defeat, after securing maximum points from his first two games in charge.

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But it reaffirmed the belief that new additions are needed this month.

So what can we expect from Pompey between now and the window closing?

Squad restrictions

Well, first up, is the fact that we know the Blues currently have room in their squad for three new signings.

EFL rules stipulate that all third and fourth-tier clubs are restricted to 22 players, with goalkeepers or any player under the age of 21 not counting towards the squad limit.

John Mousinho in discussion with sporting director Rich Hughes before Saturday's game at PeterboroughJohn Mousinho in discussion with sporting director Rich Hughes before Saturday's game at Peterborough
John Mousinho in discussion with sporting director Rich Hughes before Saturday's game at Peterborough
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Prior to the January window opening, Pompey had room for just one signing, with a squad of 21 registered with the league.

However, that number now sits at 19 following the departures of Josh Koroma and Michael Morrison.

Josh Griffiths, who has also since left, does not count because of his age and position.

And that principle also applies to 20-year-old Ryley Towler and loanee goalkeeper Matt Macey, who have been recruited by the Blues over the past month.

Transfer priorities

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Mousinho has made no secret of his wish to bring in another central defender.

Ryley Towler’s arrival from Bristol City for an undisclosed fee has boosted the Blues in this area.

However, Michael Morrison’s move to Cambridge United, plus the latest injury to impact Clark Robertson’s Fratton Park stay, means Pompey are light in this key department.

Connor Ogilive can, of course, fill in when needed. But Sean Raggett is currently the only right-footed centre-back on the books.

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That needs addressing, with Sunderland’s Bailey Wright a player linked. Yet Mousinho has already cast doubt on a deal for the 30-year-old happening.

The Pompey head coach has also revealed he would like to bring additional attacking pace to his side – something that Danny Cowley was keen to address before his sacking.

That could potentially see both forward flanks strengthened, with competition for places on both the right and left wing not always evident.

The midfield could also be identified as an area that needs refreshed, despite the Blues being well-stocked in that department.

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With Jay Mingi out with a knee injury, Louis Thompson slowly making his way back from a broken leg and Ryan Tunnicliffe being steady but unspectacular, it’s an area that needs looked at if the Blues want to play on the front foot with pace and energy.

Transfer types

As well as knowing the Blues have scope for three new signings, we also know there remains room for another loanee to join.

Matt Macey’s arrival until the end of the season from Luton took the number of loanees used by the club to six this season.

But his move was only facilitated by the departures of Josh Griffiths and Josh Koroma.

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Five loanees are permitted to be named in each match-day squad.

At present, Pompey have Macey, Dane Scarlett, Joe Pigott and Owen Dale on temporary stays, leaving room for one more to join.

If they decide to go down that route, it ties in with what Mousinho said after the defeat to Posh.

He said that both short-term and long-term solutions were being explored ahead of Tuesday’s deadline.

Potential departures

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With Ronan Curtis joining an injury list that already includes Tom Lowery, Joe Rafferty, Clark Robertson, Jay Mingi, Jayden Reid and Michael Jacobs, the Blues’ resources are well stretched at the moment.

Joe Morrell’s suspension also saw youngster Harry Jewitt-White recalled from his loan at non-league Gosport, which emphasises the point that Pompey cannot afford to put extra pressure on the numbers available to them.

Of course, no exits can be guaranteed, with Kieron Freeman among those initially earmarked for a Fratton Park departure.

Meanwhile, the picture can change very quickly if new additions are signed – hence Mousinho’s choice of words when asked by The News on Saturday.

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‘Not at the moment, no’, he said when questioned about departures.

‘Things could change in the next two or three days, but myself and Rich had a chat before the game about the current state of the squad.

‘So as it stands now, we don’t anticipate any outgoings.’

Early night?

With all of the above happening, is it any wonder Mousinho advised fans not to go to bed too early on Tuesday night.

Indeed, he stressed that the Pompey recruitment team would remain glued to the market right up until deadline just in case the unexpected happened.

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He said: ‘Even if we think all our business is done, it’s well worth staying together just in case anything else pops up.

‘There’s always the possibility that something might pop up late in the window.’

Well, we all know a centre-back is wanted