Kenny Jackett: Portsmouth boss confident club can challenge at top of League One

Portsmouth
Portsmouth were in the automatic promotion places from the middle of September until the middle of January

Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett is confident he can build a side to compete at the top of League One next season even if he loses key players.

Pompey lost to Sunderland in their play-off semi-final, and reports have linked defender Matt Clarke and forward Jamal Lowe with Championship clubs.

"They're both under contract, so if there are bids we'll build again," Jackett told BBC Radio Solent.

"It's very rare that the team is the same from one season to the next."

He added: "I don't think ours will be, but if it's not, we have to come out with a side that can compete, and compete towards the top end of League One, and I'm confident that'll be the case.

"In terms of players leaving, we will see if and when bids come in."

Jamal Lowe
Portsmouth's 17-goal top scorer Jamal Lowe started the second leg draw with Sunderland on the bench

Both Lowe and Clarke said after the defeat that they were committed to the Fratton Park club. Both have deals that run out in 12 months' time.

"Speculation happens, it happened in the summer but it is what it is, that's the industry we're in," Lowe, 24, told BBC Radio Solent after the goalless draw with Sunderland, which saw the Black Cats progress 1-0 on aggregate.

"It's just part of the game; people put stuff in newspapers and say 'so and so are after you' and it turns out it's been fabricated, so I don't get too excited about anything like that unless it's concrete.

"As far as I'm concerned I'm a Portsmouth player."

Meanwhile, Portsmouth have released midfielders Dion Donohue and Dan Smith at the end of their contracts.

Discussions are continuing over a new deal with defender Nathan Thompson, and centre-back Matt Casey has also been offered a new contract.

Loan players Omar Bogle, Lloyd Isgrove, Viv Solomon-Otabor and James Vaughan will all return to their respective parent clubs.

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