Celtic starlet in as Pompey seal three deals

Josh Thompson during a loan stint with Chesterfield last season
Josh Thompson during a loan stint with Chesterfield last season

Pompey have swooped to land Josh Thompson to bolster their defensive options.

Thompson has joined Johnny Ertl and Darel Russell as boss Michael Appleton’s three deadline-days recruits.

But Daniel Bogdanovic’s arrival at Fratton Park was dashed by a last-minute hitch.

Celtic centre-back Thompson was the final Blues deal of another busy day as the transfer window slammed shut last night.

Thompson opted to tear up the last year of his contract with the Scottish giants in favour of signing a month-long deal at Fratton Park.

The 21-year-old has not arrived in time to feature against Oldham today, though.

The news of the Bogdanovic deal falling through at the last minute means Appleton will be left with a squad of 19 players – at least until the emergency loan window opens in seven days time.

Thompson’s move to Pompey had been fraught with problems, with it becoming snared in red tape.

The Blues can only sign players from outside of England from transfer window to window.

With Appleton able to agree monthly deals at present until the club’s future is resolved, that looked to have scuppered Thompson’s signing.

But the 6ft 4in man, who has been training with Pompey in pre-season, opted to walk away from his contract to push the move through.

Russell’s switch to Pompey has now also been sealed after Appleton kept tabs on the midfielder throughout the summer.

And the Blues manager reckons his new recruit will bring crucial bite to his side in the middle of the park.

Russell had been training with Stevenage as he waited patiently for the Pompey move to come to fruition.

The 31-year-old has now seen it completed and will go straight into the squad for today’s clash with Oldham.

The ex-Norwich midfielder has been backed to add a tigerish mentality to Pompey.

Appleton said: ‘In Darel we have a combative midfield player. He will put his foot in and be aggressive.

‘I like him because he has that nasty streak in him.

‘He can handle the ball and is comfortable on it.

‘But when he needs to put his foot in, he’ll put his foot in and make sure the opponent knows he has been in a tackle.

‘Plus, he knows the league. He’s been promoted out of this league twice with Charlton and Norwich.

‘He has a lot of experience.’

Ertl will be play at centre-back today with Paul Connolly, who trained yesterday following a hamstring problem, as Pompey look to grab their first win of the season against the Latics.

Appleton believes the 29-year-old Ertl has been told positive things about the club by the men he knows on the staff.

He said: ‘Johnny knows a few people here and he’s obviously spoken to them and they’ve said what an opportunity it would be if we get a bit of stability.

‘He reminds me a bit of Paul Scharner, who I worked with at West Brom.

‘He’ll be an asset and it helps me that he’s versatile and can play centre midfield, holding midfield or centre half.

‘He’ll bring professionalism to the dressing room and the squad.’