Keep Or Bin?

Last updated : 10 March 2015 By Jim Bonner

Andy Awford has told the local news today that he isn't talking about renewing any of the contracts of the twelve players who could become free agents at the end of the season.

Technically, there are fourteen players out-of-contract in the summer but talks are already underway with Dan Butler and Adam Webster with a view to offering them a new deal.

However, who out of the other twelve are worth keeping? Let's look at them one by one.

Ryan Taylor

Taylor's biggest criticism is that he doesn't score enough goals for a striker and whilst that may be true, he has found the net four times in the last five games and has six for the season.

However, his game is about more than goals and when he plays well, he can hold the ball up for others and be a general menace to play against. He also offers the biggest aerial threat in the squad and is a good focal point to have in the team should Pompey be chasing an equaliser.

He does need to score more often, but he's too useful to dismiss unless Awford can find a player of a similar build with a better goalscoring record who would be willing to leave their current club to play for Portsmouth. Not an easy task.

Verdict: Keep

Joe Devera

Devera is generally a solid defender who still gets stick from the fans just because of his slow start to his Pompey career. On the flip side, some hail him as an internet meme after his stunning strike against Stevenage. "It's good, but it's not quite Devera!" - I have no idea how that caught on.

Joe would be worth keeping although Awford should be looking for a defender with better ability and is more than just "solid" but even if he found him, Devera would be a decent backup to them.

Verdict: Keep

Wes Fogden

It's just good to see him back on the pitch after missing the vast majority of the season due to a cruciate ligament injury. He improved the midfield last season with his energy and creativity which is something the current Pompey team are crying out for at the moment. Once he returns to full fitness, he will make a huge difference and renewing his contract should be a no-brainer.

Verdict: Keep

Ben Chorley

If there were to be a poll where Pompey fans were to vote for their worst ever Pompey team, Chorley would be a strong candidate for a place at centre back alongside such footballing prodigies as Carl Tiler and Colin Blant.

He may have had a few solid games for Pompey but generally he is slow, clumsy, unreliable and generally not good enough for league football any more. His tendancy to receive at least one red card a season only strengthens the case to get rid of him at the end of the season.

Verdict: Bin

Nicky Shorey

Whilst he's an experienced player, Shorey seems to be going through the motions now his career has almost finished and his downturn in from culminated at the end of last year with a string of very poor performances.

Dan Butler could be seen as Pompey's future left back and even if he isn't, Awford should be looking at finding a new one as Shorey is now dead wood and he may even retire come May anyway.

Verdict: Bin

Patrick Agyemang

Big Pat has served Pompey well and will be fondly remembered by the fans despite his decline this season but an unsuccessful loan spell at Dagenham and the fact he hasn't got anywhere near a matchday squad since his return will simply mean he will be shown the door in the summer.

Verdict: Bin

Tom Craddock

This is a hard one to guage as injuries have prevented Tom from getting a run in the side at any point in his Pompey career. His goalscoring record for Oxford and Luton was decent but Awford may feel that he has a similar player in Matt Tubbs only he's more prolific.

He may get a chance to shine at the end of the season when he's fully fit and maybe play well enough to earn a new contract, but it would be surprising to see him in a royal blue shirt next season.

Verdict: Bin

Danny East

Renewing East's loan spell at Aldershot seemed a strange decision as Pompey's season is practically over now and so rather than play loanee Josh Passley at right back, would it have not made more sense to recall East and play him there to see if he could make the grade?

Even if he doesn't play at right back, he can play in other positions and therefore could be a good utility man to have in the squad to cover a whole host of positions. But would Awford feel the same?

Verdict: Keep

Ben Close

Clearly one for the future. When he has played for Pompey he hasn't looked out of place and he'll only get better. He may need another loan spell at a higher level than the Southern League next season to truly develop further, but he is one to keep an eye on.

Verdict: Keep

Bradley Tarbuck

Like Close, Tarbuck is another player who looks to have a bright future despite being loaned out to non-league clubs this season. The only slight concern would be that he has only found the net once in nine games for Dorchester and some people would be expecting a better return considering his academy record.

Still, he is only 19-years-old and although he isn't making the impact Jed Wallace did at his age, he still has time to develop into a player who could eventually break into Pompey's first team. Hopefully he doesn't go the same way as Ashley Harris who is now turning out for Horndean in the Wessex League.

Verdict: Keep

Jack Maloney

Maloney has been a professional for a few years now and has also had a few loan spells in non-league although hasn't scored a goal since he turned pro. Like Ashley Harris before him, you would think he would need to step up next season and really make a name for himself so he doesn't fade into football obscurity.

However, with other players younger than the 20-year-old who seem to have brighter prospects such as Conor Chaplin at the club and with Awford needing to keep his squad size down, Maloney could well be released as he hasn't fulfilled his early potential.

Verdict: Bin

Paul McCallum

The West Ham loanee's only contribution to Pompey so far is to get sent off and be banned for seven games. Given that he hasn't made the bench since his suspension ended, it's unlikely Awford will want to keep him for next season should he be available again.

Verdict: Bin

So, that's six contracts to renew and six players to release by my reckoning. Will Andy Awford feel the same? We shall find out come the summer.