Kenny Jackett has admitted to the Portsmouth News that he hasn’t opened negotiations with any of his players as yet this season.
Ten Pompey first team players are out of contract in the summer, with Ronan Curtis the most significant name amongst those without a new deal.
Brett Pitman, Oli Hawkins, Luke McGee, Christian Burgess, Lee Brown, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May, Anton Walkes and Matt Casey make up the ten, all of whom can walk away for free in the summer.
Jackett has suggested that Curtis, who is the outstanding performer on the list, has a year’s option and therefore is unlikely to be lost for free, but the prolific Pitman and full back Brown are both players likely to be coveted by other League One sides.
With Pompey struggling in the early exchanges, the focus remains on getting points on the board, but that won’t be a comfort to Portsmouth fans. They’ll know leaving the players without a new deal is a dangerous game.
That’s one aspect of the situation that makes this an issue that needs addressing, but there are at least three reasons this needs sorting as we analyse below.
The one thing Pompey can not risk is the loss of key players. Brown, Pitman and Walkes are all quality footballers at this level, and whilst Curtis might not be able to walk away, it’s still a risk with the other nine.
Portsmouth need to keep the core of the squad together, consistency is important and they’ve got to be focused on promotion, not their futures.
Any potential disruption will be felt towards the end of the season and Kenny Jackett can’t afford another season of failure.
Dressing Room Harmony
Players might come and go, but nothing is more unsettling than speculation during the season.
With the likes of Brett Pitman on the fringe of the squad, it could be that the dressing room feels the lack of negotiations. If some players are uncertain of their future, that will be known by their allies and friends and it could lead to dressing room issues.
There is no reason to allow that to happen, certainly not with a couple of the key players. Communication will be the key.
Fans are the lifeblood of a club and they set the atmosphere on a match day. They’re an unhappy bunch at times anyway at Fratton Park; they want attractive football and a successful side.
Kenny Jackett hasn’t been delivering that, something that might begin to show in the fan’s reaction to him.
If he doesn’t sign up key players or ignores their obvious messages in the press, the fan opinion could swing further against the former Wolves boss.