Ertl set for Pompey deal

Johnny Ertl, left, is poised to sign a contract with Pompey
Johnny Ertl, left, is poised to sign a contract with Pompey

Johnny Ertl is on course to become the latest player to sign up for Guy Whittingham’s Pompey revolution.

The Blues are closing in on securing a deal for their skipper following his return from three weeks backpacking in the Philippines.

Ertl returned on Thursday, although he is now currently back in his native Austria.

However, a breakthrough has been made in discussions with the agent of Pompey’s player of the season, leaving Whittingham highly confident the influential midfielder will now put pen to paper.

The Blues boss himself embarks on a two-week holiday to Majorca on Monday.

But he believes the wheels are firmly in motion for Ertl to become recruit number 13 of what has so far been a busy summer.

Whittingham said: ‘Johnny is progressing well but he is not in the country.

‘That is where that is and I am soon away for two weeks.

‘I think he was in the country for one hour on Thursday, flying in and flying back out again, but discussions overall have been very positive.

‘It is getting closer so I am quite hopeful about that.

‘The delay has been down to him being away and not being able to sit down and really go through it.

‘It’s been difficult to find out how the discussions are going because sometimes he has not been contactable. God knows what he’s been doing out there!

‘I haven’t even spoken to him but it is very encouraging.’

Andy Barcham and David Connolly became the latest to commit their futures to the Blues this week as Whittingham’s squad continues to expand.

Pompey are now eyeing Barnet winger Ricky Holmes, who is out of contract this summer.

The 25-year-old was at Fratton Park for negotiations on Thursday and talks are continuing over a switch.

However, it is understood a potential deal is not imminent.

Regardless, 12 players have already committed themselves to deals, ranging from 12 months to three years, since the campaign ended.

In addition, the Blues are hoping to hang on to Jed Wallace, who is currently on England under-19 duty in Belgium.

Whittingham, though, is not anticipating any more arrivals before Monday.

And while he is away for a fortnight, there isn’t expected to be too much action on the player-signing front, apart from Ertl committing his future.

Whittingham added: ‘No signings before Monday, there will be no more new faces.

‘We are very happy with what we have managed to achieve at this point. It was something we were aiming to do.

‘It was important to get players signed up as soon as possible after finishing the season with only three contracted players – and I’m delighted how it has gone.’