Andy Awford stepped up his pursuit of Marcus Bean as his Pompey reshuffle gathered pace and insisted: He is my type of player.
The combative midfielder impressed during his loan stint from Colchester, which ended on January 3 – and convinced the Blues boss of his Fratton Park worth.
Awford’s January transfer window plans took another step forward yesterday with both Paul Robinson and Matt Tubbs edging closer to their respective moves to Pompey.
Robinson cancelled his Millwall contract, while Tubbs’ loan at AFC Wimbledon was terminated by Bournemouth, paving the way for them to seal their switch to the Blues.
Negotiations continue in the bid to keep Bean at the club – with a new loan deal and a permanent move both under discussion. But Awford has made it clear the 30-year-old is more than the stop gap that some thought he was when he arrived in the wake of James Dunne’s knee injury.
And the Blues boss believes he fits the identity of the club.
Awford said: ‘Marcus hasn’t surprised me. I knew what I was getting with him.
‘I brought him in to replace James Dunne, who is now very, very close to being available for full selection.
‘But you can’t have enough good players.
‘He is a good player, a great lad and he’s good to have around the place.
‘As a club, we have an identity. The supporters will recognise it as much as I do and you need players who run through brick walls for you.
‘Beany is one of those players and we need to be signing that type of player.
‘It’s our ethos, our culture and Marcus fits into that.
‘He ticks those boxes and can play a few different roles in midfield so he is one I would definitely like to keep.’
Pompey are already well stocked in central midfield, with Dunne now fit again to join Danny Hollands and Nigel Atangana.
But Johnny Ertl also played himself back into the manager’s plans with a fine display in the recent 1-1 draw at Luton.
Bean, however, has shown his worth and started six consecutive games for Pompey since making his debut against Morecambe in November.
And Awford has not ruled out a permanent switch, with chief executive Mark Catlin conducting negotiations.
‘We’ve got some strength in depth in the middle of the park,’ Awford added.
‘But we need as many good players around the place as we can get.
‘Beany is out of contract in the summer so there might be scope to turn it into a loan until the end of the season or take over his contract.
‘I’ve explained to Mark Catlin where I want to go so it’s in his hands now.’
Pompey will be keen to have a deal in place for Bean in time for Saturday’s trip to Newport County.
But the Blues could also have both Robinson and Tubbs in the ranks, too – despite apparent late interest from Southend in the latter.