Why Portsmouth chief believes Blues have shown Championship ambition already this summer following arrival of ex-Bristol City and Cardiff man

Andy Cullen believes Pompey’s early-summer business reflects their Championship ambition.

By Sam Cox
Friday, 24th June 2022, 4:55 am

The Blues struck deals to keep Sean Raggett, Michael Jacobs and Reeco Hackett, with the trio poised to become free agents.

In addition, contract extensions for Marcus Harness, Jayden Reid, Louis Thompson and Jay Mingi and taken up by the club.

Now Marlon Pack has arrived, the former Cardiff and Bristol City midfielder representing Pompey’s first signing since the transfer window reopened.

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Cullen is convinced it signals a strong statement of intent from the Blues following last season’s disappointing 10th-placed finish in League One.

Although the chief executive recognises there’s plenty more to be done before the opening-day trip to Sheffield Wednesday on July 30.

He told The News: ‘It’s a big statement. To get a player of Championship quality into the building while fending off a lot of competition for him shows the ambitions we have next season in that particular area.

‘We started off by working hard in focusing on the players who were out of contract last season who we wanted to resign.

Marlon Pack became Pompey's first summer signing of 2022. Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images

‘We’re delighted to have the likes of Sean Raggett in the building and signed up. Following that up with Michael Jacobs and Reeco Hackett as well.

‘To get three of those deals done with players who were potentially out of contract has been important to us.’

Despite Pack arriving at the club, Pompey’s striking department remains empty – with youngster Dan Gifford the only option on the return to training.

Cullen assured supporters he’s working hard to strengthen, but reiterated his belief that the club is in a stronger position compared to last year.

He added: ‘We go into pre-season having more numbers than last year, when we had a lot of trialists around. We wanted to minimise that this year and now start to build in the other areas where we must recruit.

‘Obviously we’re looking at the forward line in particula, it’s an area we’re working hard on at the moment, alongside one or two positionsl.

‘We’re in a much better place than 12 months ago.’