Blues talent won’t surrender

Joel Ward. Picture: Barry Zee
Joel Ward. Picture: Barry Zee
Stuart O'Keefe. Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey midfielder will relish facing former club

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Joel Ward has pledged not to give up his Pompey shirt without a fight.

The 21-year-old has failed to nail down a regular starting spot this season.

But he was back in the side for the 1-0 defeat at Hull at the weekend.

Ward’s recall was prompted by Liam Lawrence serving a one-match suspension.

Pompey’s skipper is set to return for Saturday’s visit of Blackpool.

That will once again put the place of Ward, who played in midfield at the KC Stadium, under the spotlight.

Ward has also operated at left and right-back this season.

And the Emsworth youngster has vowed he will do everything he can to stay in the side.

He said: ‘Personally I want to be playing as much football as I can.

‘I realise it’s a squad game, but that is what I am focused on.

‘When you get the opportunity you have got to make sure you keep your shirt.

‘Lennie was a big loss. He’s a very good player.

‘But in the squad now we’ve got a lot of quality players who can come in and do the job.

‘I want to make sure the shirt stays mine – which it is at the moment.’

Ward was in the line-up for the first three matches of the season, including the Carling Cup defeat to Barnet.

Since then he has started just two of Pompey’s last five matches.

Only Jamie Ashdown, Hayden Mullins and David Nugent were named in more line-ups than the youngster last season.

In total he made 46 appearances, scoring three goals.

Now he is looking to seal a regular spot this term.