'We will do everything' - Portsmouth boss discusses out-of-contract 11 now salary cap scrapped

Kenny Jackett revealed he’s identified the ‘assets’ he wants to offer new Pompey contracts.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 5:24 pm
Jack Whatmough, left, and Tom Naylor are out of contract at the end of the season. Picture: Joe Pepler

But it will be a while longer before the Blues enter any negotiations – despite the League One salary cap being scrapped.

Pompey had previously been unable to hold discussions with the 11 players whose deals expire at the season’s end.

Because they could only offer the divisional average of £1,750 per week, talks with regulars such as Tom Naylor, Jack Whatmough, Andy Cannon, Ryan Williams and Craig MacGillivray were put on hold.

Sign up to our Portsmouth FC newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

However, following an independent arbitration panel ruling in favour of the Professional Footballers’ Association to axe the wage ceiling, the Blues can now explore the possibility of retaining their key men.

Jackett admits he has earmarked those who he’d liked to keep at Fratton Park beyond June.

For the meantime, though, his primary focus is on guiding the Blues to promotion – although he remains aware of the contractual situations of his troops.

The Pompey boss said: ‘It’s a situation we have followed very closely and it’s a good thing it’s sorted out early because it gives you time to plan for the summer.

‘We are very aware of the players’ contractual situations, 100 per cent.

‘There is a sense from all of us that we have to concentrate on the here and now.

That’s Crewe, Bristol Rovers and Blackpool and getting the club promoted in the here and now.

‘But, of course, we want to keep our assets and we are aware of their situations.

‘There is a bigger picture around financial planning and crowds but every club will be going through the same situation.

‘Of course, we would want to keep our better players, definitely. I am sure we will do everything that we can to do that.’

Jackett conceded there is a chance the likes of Naylor and Whatmough could have already been sounded out by potential suitors keen to snap them up in the summer.

But he insists communication with those he’s keen to keep will be crucial.

Jackett added: ‘It’s always a possibility if a player’s contract is running out (that they have been sounded out by other clubs).

‘But if a player is doing well in our team, doing well and is keen to stay at Pompey, then we have a good enough relationship with all of them to stay in clear communication.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

The News has launched a new subscription offer which gives you unlimited access to all of our Pompey coverage, starting at less than £1 a week.