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Portsmouth must keep this rising star

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At just 21, Matt Clarke is already one of Portsmouth’s most important players.

Having helped steer the side through 13 clean sheets, the defender deservedly won Portsmouth’s player of the year award. However, with this form, larger sides will be sniffing around, hoping to snatch one of League One’s most promising young players. In this upcoming transfer window, it must be Kenny Jackett’s top priority to keep him out of their clutches.

This season Clarke topped 100 appearances for Portsmouth. With 107 games for Pompey under his belt, he has now made more appearances for the club than all but three other players. This commitment to the side was emphasised when he signed a contract extension in February to keep him at Portsmouth until 2020. While this was to assuage fears that he could leave over the summer, it will likely not be enough to deter the more determined sides.

The allure of Championship football will prove a great tempter for the young starlet and after two strong seasons in League One it is clear that he is ready to make the step up. If Jackett is to keep Clarke at Fratton Park, his best hope is to emphasise how close they came to the play-offs this season. Were it not for a calamitous run that saw Portsmouth pick up just five points in their last six games, a play-off spot could very much have been on the cards. If they’re to come close again, they’ll want Matt Clarke to still be playing in Pompey colours.

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