League One outfit Portsmouth will be hoping to retain their key players and add a couple of additions this month to compensate for the departures that could be on the way at Fratton Park.
It could be argued that the January window has come at an awkward time for them with Danny Cowley’s men currently on a nine-league game unbeaten run, with the south-coast side’s manager potentially wary of too much movement disrupting this superb vein of form.
Nonetheless, a slow start to the season has left them with work still to do in their quest to secure a top-six finish this term, something they weren’t able to do during the 2020/21 campaign as they lost out agonisingly with a home defeat against Accrington Stanley on the final day of the season.
Quiz: Can you name which club Portsmouth signed these 20 strikers from?
To avoid heartbreak again this year, they will have work to do with eight points currently separating themselves and sixth-placed Plymouth Argyle, although they do have a couple of games in hand over the Pilgrims due to their Covid postponements.
Their fixture list is set to be even more compact than it already was though with these cancellations, so depth will be needed in these games to cover for injuries, suspensions and Covid cases, the latter of which are still causing havoc across the EFL.
Because of this need for depth, we’re taking a look at who could potentially arrive at Pompey this month – and who could potentially be heading for the exit door.
In: Matt Jay
Football League World understands the third-tier outfit held a strong interest in Exeter City attacker Jay in the latter stages in September along with three other clubs who were also thought to have him high on their shortlist.
Barnsley, Millwall and League One rivals Ipswich Town were the clubs also named as potential suitors for the 25-year-old after seeing him become a vital asset for the Grecians since the beginning of last term.
Recording 18 goals in 44 league appearances last season, he is on course to match or better that with Jay already into double figures with 10 in 22 during 2021/22.
This consistency may end up earning him a move to a higher tier, although the fact he signed a new long-term contract at St James’ Park last year will allow the League Two outfit to hold out for a substantial fee for his services.
However, the potential sale of Marcus Harness could help to finance this move, with Jay potentially being the perfect replacement for the Irishman.
Out: Marcus Harness
25-year-old Harness has been a key man for Pompey since his arrival from Burton Albion in June 2019.
He may have had a mixed first season at Fratton Park but after recording seven goals and eight assists in the league last term, appearing in every single League One match during 2020/21, manager Cowley was expecting there to be interest in his services from Championship sides last summer.
Unfortunately for the midfielder, a move up didn’t materialise, but he has recently been linked with a move to high-flyers Blackburn Rovers who are currently thriving under Tony Mowbray at Ewood Park.
However, with John Buckley currently playing well in an advanced midfield role and the Lancashire club currently operating with no advanced wide men, it would be hard to see him forcing his way straight into the starting lineup.
Pompey’s Chief Executive Andy Cullen believes his long-term future lies at Fratton Park, but whether a move to a promotion-competing second-tier side would be too tempting to turn down if that opportunity came along remains to be seen.
Out: Gassan Ahadme
Despite impressing in pre-season, Norwich City loanee Ahadme has struggled to impress at the club this season, making just five league appearances for the south-coast side and scoring just once in nine competitive displays, grabbing a goal and an assist against Crystal Palace’s Under-23s in the EFL Trophy.
That’s as good as it’s good for the Moroccan since pre-season and after making just one short cameo in League One since August, the writing seems to be on the wall for him as he’s struggled to force his way into the lineup, rarely being used as a substitute either.
According to The News though, the 21-year-old’s misery is coming to a conclusion with the Canaries looking set to recall him this month, something that may come as a relief to the forward who will be keen to impress elsewhere.