Andy Awford has told his out-of-contract Pompey players: There is still time to earn yourselves a new deal.
After striker Patrick Agyemang left the club by mutual consent yesterday, the Blues boss still has 11 players unsure of their futures at Fratton Park.
When you are out of contract, you are in the shop windowAndy Awford
Awford claims he has not yet given much thought to who will be offered fresh terms as he continues to focus on the final eight games of the season.
But Ryan Taylor, Wes Fogden, Danny East, Dan Butler, Joe Devera, Adam Webster, Tom Craddock, Nicky Shorey, Ben Chorley, Ben Close and Bradley Tarbuck have yet to discover if they are part of the manager’s plans.
Awford maintains he has not yet made his mind up, although privately he must surely have some rough ideas in place on who he wants to keep in the plans for next season.
But he insists that every player still has the chance to make their case.
Awford said: ‘It is totally open. I haven’t given it that much consideration yet.
‘All I am focused on is this season at the moment.
‘We get to this stage of the season, people start to plan for next season and rightly so.
‘If we had two games to go, then I might start looking ahead a bit more.
‘But there are a lot of games to go and we won’t be losing our focus.’
While the situation creates an uncertain period for players, Awford believes they are used to performing with that element of added pressure.
Awford said: ‘The players shouldn’t need any more motivation than they have already.
‘But I get the point that when you are out of contract, you are in the shop window.
‘There are 11 out of contract here and probably about 12,000 across the leagues.
‘A lot of players are in the same position.
‘That is always there at this stage of the season so it’s nothing new.’
Of the 11 players, Taylor and Fogden would seem the most likely to be offered new deals – although there is no guarantee that an agreement will be reached.
But Awford is attempting to strike the right balance between making sure the Blues finish the season well and assessing his options for next term.
He said: ‘Every club gets a list and it shows you who else is out of contract in the summer.
‘Some of them will re-sign for their current clubs, as always happens.
‘But that could well happen here as well.
‘We have got some really good players here.
‘I am balancing that with the fact we have still got a job to do over the final few weeks of the season.
‘For me, the focus has to be on now.
‘The other stuff will take care of itself when it comes about.’