POMPEY administrator Trevor Birch has confirmed Balram Chainrai is one of two parties interested in taking over the club.
In his clearest indication yet that the former owner is waiting in the wings to regain control at Fratton Park, Mr Birch said he has been in discussions with Mr Chainrai’s associates over securing the club’s future.
Mr Chainrai’s representatives said at last month’s creditors’ meeting that he will not see the club liquidated after previously urging the administrator to turn to him as a ‘last resort’.
But Mr Birch, who has been looking for a buyer to take over at Fratton Park since February 17, stressed there is still no deal on the table.
Mr Birch said: ‘We are in discussions with two interested parties, one of which is Balram Chainrai.
‘Chainrai’s representatives publicly stated at the creditors’ meeting that they would not allow the club to be liquidated and we have since met with them to gauge their interest.
‘There is no solid bid on the table from either party at present but we are trying to find an appropriate deal structure that works within the time frame.
‘We are also talking to our contacts in the market to encourage any other potential bidders to come forward immediately.’
The other interested party is not the Pompey Supporters’ Trust, according to Mr Birch, but he is helping the group to formalise its bid.
The trust revealed last week it needs 1,000 new pledges from fans to launch a ‘viable’ takeover bid through its community share scheme.
Mr Birch said he is doing all he can to conclude a deal before the Football League’s annual meeting on May 31 and June 1 and is working with the authority to see if a buyer can be in place before a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) is agreed to bring the club out of administration.
He added: ‘We’re continuing to look at ways of improving the club’s cashflow – including further player sales – but it is very difficult to predict how much extra time this will buy us as there are so many factors at play.’
Mr Birch said there have been no discussions with Portsmouth City Council over the authority lending the club cash to boost its survival bid.
Meanwhile council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson dismissed reports the authority was ready to loan the club a seven-figure sum and said the trust’s bid is ‘probably the best long-term solution’.
He said: ‘We continue to look at the situation closely but we are not going to bail the club out of its financial problems.’
Scott Mclachlan, spokesman for the Supporters’ Trust, said the trust had received around 180 new pledges from fans after it appealed for an extra 1,000 supporters to come forward.