League One play-off semi-finalists Portsmouth are eyeing up a summer move for a new central defender, amid interest in star man Matthew Clarke.
According to the Stoke Sentinel with quotes taken from Pompey manager Kenny Jackett, the club are looking to sign a new centre-half, despite denying directly it is because Clarke is leaving.
22-year-old Clarke has been in fine form for Pompey this season, becoming a key man despite seeing themselves come up short in their quest for play-off glory.
However, Jackett insisted he will still look to make a new addition in central defence over the summer.
“I would think so (a centre-back will be high on the shopping list).” Jackett said.
“At the moment we have two centre-halves in (Christian) Burgess and Clarke. Anton Walkes and Tom Naylor can play there and those are our options. Yes, we have young Matt Casey. In his Checkatrade Trophy and under-23 games this season he has made good progress.”
Pompey lost out this week after going down 1-0 to Sunderland, and now Jackett will have a big job on his hands this summer to get the club back into form for another run at promotion next season.
With strong interest from Stoke City for Clarke, Jackett will know that replacing his key man will be of paramount importance over what is to be a big summer at Fratton Park.
It’s a given that Portsmouth will need to act if they sell Clarke, and it’s good that Jackett is acknowledging it.
However, bringing someone into the club of the quality of Clarke will be another task all entirely, and Jackett will have a tough task on his hand finding the right type of player.