Derby County should compete with any Championship rival for Portsmouth defender Matt Clarke.

The Rams are currently down to the bare bones in central defence. Curtis Davies is out for the season after suffering a knee ligament injury, while Alex Pearce departed to join Millwall on loan.

Pearce’s switch to the Lions has raised doubts over Derby’s squad depth. Right now, manager Frank Lampard is relying on his only two natural centre-backs Fikayo Tomori and Richard Keogh to remain fit.

(Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images)

The former Chelsea man could move Andre Wisdom inside, or George Evans to drop back to centre-back. But both options are makeshift, prompting the question as to why Lampard moved Pearce on?

Unless Derby sign a new defender ahead of the upcoming deadline, they run the risk of being short in a key area for the Championship promotion race as they currently sit in sixth spot in the table.

Either way, with Tomori returning to parent club Chelsea in the summer, a new left-footed central defender is a priority. Portsmouth’s Matt Clarke could be the solution.

(Photo by Harry Murphy/Getty Images)

Portsmouth’s Matt Clarke fits the bill for Frank Lampard’s Derby County:

The 22-year-old is at an excellent age. He certainly fits in with Lampard’s quest to lower the average age of the squad at Pride Park. Moreover, he has plenty of first-team experience and is ready for the step up.

After leaving Ipswich for Pompey in 2016, Clarke has gone on to make over 100 appearances for the club. He has featured in every league game for the League One leaders this term, impressing plenty of onlookers.

(Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

“I think Matt is one of the best centre-halves in the league. From my time in the league, he’s one of the best and he’s going to have a fantastic career,” fellow Pompey defender Lee Brown said, quoted by the Stoke Sentinel amid reported interest from the Potters.

Clarke, left-footed, tall, quick and comfortable in possession, ticks plenty of boxes for Derby. With his contract set to expire in 2020, Lampard should seek a deal for the player now before he likely garners huge interest in the summer.

Also see: Does Derby County’s latest transfer news suggest a lack of faith in left-back Max Lowe?

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