Why Portsmouth's out-of-contract players still find themselves in limbo ahead of Oxford United showdown

Kenny Jackett has explained why Pompey’s out-of-contract players are still in limbo.

Saturday, 27th June 2020, 7:00 am

And the Blues boss has admitted it’s unlikely he’ll call on released pair Adam May and Matt Casey after they penned short-term contract extensions.

It proved a sometimes fraught early part of the week as Jackett waited to see if he’d have all his would-be out-of-contract squad members available for next Friday’s showdown with Oxford.

But it ended with Lee Brown, Christian Burgess, Oli Hawkins, Brandon Haunstrup, Brett Pitman, May and Casey signing deals to cover the play-offs, along with the club’s quartet of loanees.

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There’s still no clarity for most of those players beyond that period, however, with Jackett pointing to uncertainty over which division Pompey will be in along with the parlous state of football amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That’s why the likes of Brown, Hawkins and Haunstrup, in particular, are in different boats to the young pair who were informed some time ago they would be departing.

Burgess is also poised to leave after agreeng to join Belgian second-tier outfit Royale Union Saint-Gilloise – as is the out-of-favour Pitman.

Jackett said ‘I’ve told Adam May and Matt Casey they won’t have their contracts renewed.

Kenny Jackett

‘So they’ve had that information and everyone else we haven’t given them that information on next year, because we don’t know where we are and what next year looks like.

‘I told them (May and Casey) quite early we wouldn’t be renewing their contracts.

‘If we needed them and they were willing they could technically still play in these play-offs.

‘But with players ahead of them in their positions it’s very unlikely. So in terms of next year those guys have been told – and told some time ago privately.

‘For everyone else we’ve been waiting really. One for the conclusion of this season and when we’re going to play again, but most important what next season will look like. So there’s no decisions there.’

Jackett explained May and Casey will not join the club for training despite inking deals, while that remains the case also for Pitman.

The Pompey boss feels it’s important not to block the path of the emerging young players who are around next season.

He added: ‘It’s been very difficult for them to actually get moving into getting a new club. For Adam and Matt that’s been the case.

‘Those players would be able to train with us and, if they wanted to and we needed them, they would be able to come in and play.

‘But there’s no point in them coming in and being squad players. That should be for the likes of Alfie Stanley or Haji Mnoga. Those type of players who need experience and are contracted for next year.

‘Whenever there’s the opportunity you need to be developing the next Alex Bass.

‘They need to be in around, training and gaining experience even if they’re not quite playing. That’s really important.’