Mark Catlin: Portsmouth are facing January transfer window fraught with difficulties

Mark Catlin has outlined the pitfalls of the January transfer window Pompey are desperate to avoid.

Saturday, 16th November 2019, 5:30 am
Mark Catlin. Picture: Joe Pepler

Catlin is adamant the homework is thoroughly undertaken when it comes to identifying the players who come through the door, however.

He underlined a determination for the next recruits to improve the hopes of success for Kenny Jackett’s side, as he highlighted the minefield Pompey will need to negotiate.

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Catlin said: ‘My definition of a successful January transfer window will be from the league position we go into January, where do we finish at the end of the year? If we’ve improved then January by default will have improved the team.

‘That’s what we are looking for. That hasn't happened in the last two Januarys, and you look at it and the obvious reason it hasn’t happened is our recruitment hasn't been good enough on the face of it.

‘However, if you look at the players we have signed and players that didn’t do particularly well, I’m going back to even pre-Kenny times.

‘On paper, you do your homework and research, these players look great and for whatever reason didn’t make it. They then leave, go elsewhere and are suddenly successful again - and we have to look at why that is.

‘You go back to the wider things, it’s a tough place to come with the expectations.

‘I watched Omar Bogle at the weekend, did he really make the difference and impact that we hoped he would here? Possibly not, it’s subjective.

‘I watched him and he is a Championship player, looked good, sharp, worked well, things we brought him here to do - and it just didn’t work.’

Pompey’s hierarchy has made it clear they are focussing their player hunt on ‘quality’ additions who can make an immediate impact over the second half of the season.

He added: ‘The biggest thing isn’t the individuals. No-one releases players in January from other clubs unless you buy them. If they are playing well at your club why would you release them on loan to Portsmouth, it doesn’t happen.

‘What do you get from the January window? Players that haven't been playing are recovering from injuries. So they come here and it’s hard to make that adjustment in just a three or four month period and also they often come here not being match fit. 

‘We throw them into a match environment and they pick up injuries or because there’s a struggle to get their form going and don’t hit the ground running, a lot of supporters already make their minds up on them and then they are operating under that pressure.

‘Your main work should be done in the summer. 

‘I think there’s a temptation you bring your players in and you can disrupt a happy changing room.

‘Players coming at that period haven't been playing for their team or recovering from injury, but you are always looking to improve.

‘So you are signing a player you think is 9/10 but he actually arrives here as a 7/10, either doesn’t get into the team straight away so becomes disenchanted because he’s come here to play, or he does get into the team and because he’s not fit picks up an injury.

‘There is a wider dynamic there, it’s not a simple case of “He is a good player, bring him in, he should play well at Portsmouth”. Some work, some don't. 

‘Unfortunately, for the last two years, did the January window strengthen us, on paper yes, in reality no.’