The 28-year-old was a late January transfer window addition by Danny Cowley, with O’Brien swapping the north east at Sunderland to the south coast at Fratton Park.
Pompey did not pay a transfer fee for the Republic of Ireland international, who repaid the faith shown in him by Cowley by scoring some key goals.
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O’Brien’s stats following the conclusion of the 2021-22 League One campaign saw him tally five goals in 17 outings, with a late winner against Wigan Athletic and an even later equaliser versus Fleetwood Town being the most memorable.
Cowley has already declared his intentions to keep O’Brien around if he can, however no talks have begun yet despite the season ending this past weekend, and the clock is ticking down for the powers-that-be to start the negotiations process.
“If everything is right with the deal and certain things, I want to play for Pompey next year, but we just need to get the ball rolling,” O’Brien said, per The News.
“Pompey is my priority. I love it here, absolutely love it here. I’ve hit the ground running, the fans have taken to me, the players have been ledge, the manager and staff have been really good to me.
“I don’t want to up and leave, I want to keep going, but that needs to be done with my agent and the board.
“I expect him to be contacted in the next week or so, but, as it stands, I’m in limbo.
“I’m off-season now, I’m basically unemployed, I have other clubs which my agent is telling me are talking to him – but the main club I want talking to him is Pompey. And they’re not talking.”
After perhaps flattering to deceive at Sunderland and not getting as much first-team action as he’d have liked, O’Brien seems to have found a happy place at Fratton Park.
He quite clearly wants to stay at the club and Danny Cowley wants him back for next season, so really nothing should be holding the top brass at Pompey back.
But if nothing happens soon then other League One clubs are no doubt going to enter the frame for O’Brien’s signature, and then it could become a problem.
With the Irishman scoring a goal every three or so games, he is clearly an asset at the top end of the pitch for them so talks need to be started very soon or else Pompey could end up regretting it.