Portsmouth had a strong season last year although finishing 10th in the league and ten points from the play-offs is a sign that they still have some work to do before they can be battling for promotion.
Teams around them that will also be competing for promotion including Wycombe, Ipswich Town and Bolton Wanderers have already started announcing deals ahead of the transfer window officially opening at the end of the week but Pompey have been rather quiet in comparison.
However, Portsmouth’s chief executive Andy Cullen has reassured fans that plenty is going on behind the scenes as he told The News: “Have we signed anybody? There’s plenty going on. I wouldn’t want to give any further indications on that level of business, I just want to protect the football club.
“Everybody is working hard and we are in play with a number of different players in a number of key positions. As much as you want to get business done early, there’s still another 86 days until August 31st, although we are probably in a better place this year in terms of the number of bodies in the building overall.
“Compare that to last summer, when we were having to supplement with a huge number of trialists coming in, which we’re keen to avoid this summer. There’s a lot of speculation, which is natural, linking probably 150 players a week to Pompey at the moment. That’s where we are at this stage in the season.
“Some of those will be wide of the mark, others are places with a bit more intelligence, but whether they are out-of-contract players or players at other clubs with fees requires, there are lots of different options at the moment. We are prioritising players in key positions we need to fill, particularly forwards and the goalkeeping department, with just one [senior] keeper in the building in Alex Bass.
“Just because the window hasn’t opened yet, doesn’t mean you are not starting conversations before then. We’re very much in dialogue regarding the availability of players with other clubs with their agents.”
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It’s fair enough that Portsmouth don’t wish to rush their business this summer and in fairness, they don’t have to. They’ve identified the key areas that need strengthening and it’s about focusing on getting the right people into those positions.
That being said, they don’t want to spend too long pondering otherwise they will risk losing out on strong targets. Furthermore, with the teams around them starting to recruit, they can’t afford to fall behind if they wish to compete for promotion next season.
However, the transfer window officially opens on Friday and it sounds as though there is plenty of work going on behind the scenes with contact being made with numerous players so hopefully Pompey fans will see more happening in the coming weeks.