Burgess available for play-offs after agreeing move to Belgium

THE League One play-offs will be Christian Burgess’s Pompey swansong after the centre back signed a pre-contract agreement with Belgian side Royal Union Saint-Gilloise.

The move to Belgium ends Burgess’s five-year association with Portsmouth, the 28-year-old currently enjoying his best season at the club.

In February, manager Kenny Jackett was hopeful Burgess would sign a contract before the current season ended, but at the time the club admitted they were far from agreeing a new deal with the former Peterborough United man.

Now Burgess has opted for a switch to the Brussels suburbs after signing a three-year deal with the Belgian second division side, with the agreement that he remained available to play in the play-offs for Pompey. It appears that the length of contract offered by Royal Union was key to Burgess moving overseas.

The defender regained a regular spot in the starting XI when Jack Whatmough suffered a serious knee injury 16 months ago, and this campaign has formed a defensive pairing with Sean Raggett which helped steer Pompey into the play-offs. He has also scored four goals since the turn of the year.

Meanwhile, Lee Brown, Matt Casey, Oli Hawkins, Brandon Haunstrup, Adam May and Brett Pitman will all remain at Fratton Park after agreeing temporary deals, with loan-signings Ross McCrorie, Cameron McGeehan and Raggett all allowed by their parent clubs to stay until the play-offs are completed.

However, goalkeeper Luke McGee, currently on loan at Bradford City, has not agreed a contract extension and leaves the after making 55 appearances since signing from Tottenham in the summer of 2017.