Pompey target tough-tackling Sheffield United midfielder Michael Doyle

Michael Doyle Picture: Bruce Rollinson
Michael Doyle Picture: Bruce Rollinson
  • Doyle made 57 appearances for the Blades last season
  • Republic of Ireland international started career with Celtic

POMPEY are eyeing adding Michael Doyle to their promotion challenge.

The News understands the ex-Sheffield United midfielder has held talks with Paul Cook over a free-transfer move.

The Blades last month opted not to retain their club captain at the end of a season which saw them lose out in the League One play-off semi-finals.

It signalled an end to the 33-year-old’s Bramall Lane stay which spanned 231 appearances and saw him net 10 times.

Cook, a long-time admirer of Doyle, has subsequently catapulted himself to the front of the queue by making an approach for the free agent.

Attempts to potentially seal a deal are presently on hold, after Doyle jetted off on holiday at the weekend.

Regardless, Pompey are hopeful of securing the services of the former Celtic trainee to add to summer recruits Kyle Bennett and Kal Naismith.

They also remain in the hunt for Chesterfield’s Gary Roberts.

Yet with Doyle not scheduled to return until the end of next week, the Blues will have to play a waiting game.

The Republic of Ireland international is a holding midfielder known for his high work-rate and tough tackling.

They are credentials which would see him effortlessly slot into Cook’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system as one of the two sitting midfielders.

At Sheffield United, only striker Jamie Murphy made more league starts last season.

Doyle lined up in 35 of those league matches – amassing 57 appearances in total and scoring once.

He also netted the winning penalty which eliminated West Ham from the Capital One Cup in August 2014.

Nigel Clough’s side won the third-round fixture at Upton Park on spot-kicks, having secured a 1-1 scoreline after extra-time.

The Blades eventually lost to Spurs over the competition’s two-legged semi-finals.

Doyle was also part of the United side which defeated Premier League QPR 3-0 on home turf in the FA Cup back in January.

Despite approaching his 34th birthday in August, the midfielder has only ever played first-team football at three clubs.

Doyle chalked up 297 appearances and recorded 22 goals at Coventry City during a seven-and-a-half year stay.

During that period he also had a season-long loan spell at Leeds, featuring 52 times.

In January 2011, he joined Sheffield United on a free transfer and went on to establish himself as a regular once more.

With the Blades eliminated 7-6 on aggregate in last season’s League One play-offs by Swindon, Doyle was among the players released.

Their manager, Clough, himself was be sacked within two weeks of that decision.

Now new Pompey boss Cook must wait to discover whether he can seal a deal for Doyle.