UPDATE: Latest on prospect of Portsmouth reunion for Marlon Pack as Derby County enter race for Cardiff City man linked with Bristol City and Shrewsbury Town
Pompey believe the prospect of an emotional homecoming could be a trump card in their pursuit of Marlon Pack.
But the Blues will need to fend off the interest from Derby County who have entered the race for the midfielder.
The News understands the appeal of returning to his home city is proving a massive pull for the Buckland lad, who knows a huge welcome lies in wait if he decides to return to Fratton Park.
But Wayne Rooney has shown a strong interest in the 30-year-old, with the Rams also serious contenders for his signature after dropping into League One.
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Bristol City and Shrewsbury have also been mentioned as options for Pack, as he becomes a free agent after leaving Cardiff this summer.
But it’s looking increasingly like a two-horse race for the midfielder, who is currently away on holiday as he weighs up where his future lies.
Pompey have not been able to match the financial package put on the table by Derby, although the Blues have still put forward a presentable offer.
A significant factor is the continuing takeover uncertainty at Pride Park, with the threat of liquidation hanging over the club.
American Chris Kirchner has failed to complete the takeover two months after being named as preferred bidder, with the saga continuing to rumble on.
That places a huge question mark over the path forward for Derby with the club currently under a transfer embrago - and the prospect of them being able to make good on their proposal to Pack.
Pack, of course, has a massive affinity with both Pompey and the city.
He attended Flying Bull Academy and City Boys, played on the local scene and then went into the Blues academy where he emerged as midfielder of real promise.
After being given his debut by Steve Cotterill in 2010, Pack would only go on to make two senior sub appearances, however, before he was sold to Cheltenham in 2011.
Now though, he has the opportunity to take a central role in Pompey’s bid to reach the Championship next season.
There’s little doubt landing Pack would represent a relative coup for Cowley, after operating in the Championship for the past six seasons.
Bringing in a player of the academy graduate’s standing will also be a weapon in Pompey’s armoury as they continue their recruitment work this summer.
Cowley would like an additional player in the middle of the park next term with Louis Thompson, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Joe Morrell and Jay Mingi his existing senior options. Promising teenager Harry Jewitt-White signed first-year pro terms in April.
Pompey are looking to bring in their first summer signings with the transfer window now open for registering players.