Duo set to go

Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey hit transfer impasse

Steve Cotterill has admitted he cannot see either Michael Brown or Richard Hughes wearing a Pompey shirt again.

The Blues boss feels the midfield duo are unlikely to resolve their current contract disputes with the club.

Cotterill also revealed he's in the dark about any bids for Liam Lawrence in the wake of the 3-2 defeat to Hull.

Both Brown and Hughes were forced to sit out that loss yesterday as their contract wrangle rumbles on.

If either midfielder plays one more game for Pompey, they would be entitled to new deals on wages the club cannot afford.

That has forced a stand-off between the players and Pompey.

But despite hopes an agreement could be ironed out, neither Brown or Hughes have held further talks with chief executive David Lampitt, who was not at yesterday's game.

And boss Cotterill does not expect to be able to call on either player again.

He said: 'I can't see it being sorted for love nor money. I can't see it. I've accepted it.

'The only way Michael and Richard will play here again, I think, is if they take that clause out of their contracts.

'That's not to pressure them. It's their prerogative.

'I get on really well with those boys but that's their prerogative.

'It's a contractual issue. They have business and career decisions to make and it's a short career but there's little I can do about that.

'An offer's been made and it doesn't look enough. I don't think there will be any give in that offer.

'If something happens and they can move on, that is going to happen because we haven't been able to agree anything.

'They get to further and enhance their careers.

'I think we have got to where we are money-wise.

'What hasn't happened is there hasn't been any negotiation.

'The club's gone straight in and they potentially thought there could be a bit of negotiation.

'There hasn't really been any of that. The offer's been what we can afford for those lads. That's basically the truth and nuts and bolts of it.

'I can only be as honest as I can with it. I want to know if I have those players available to me.

'It's really what has messed us up over the past three or four games.'

Talk of a 4m bid from West Ham for Lawrence surfaced yesterday but Cotterill has not heard of anything on that front. He also wants to know whether Tal Ben Haim will be returning to Pompey from his loan stay at Upton Park.

Cotterill explained Matt Ritchie is close to moving to Swindon for a fee rising to 250,000, however.

He said: 'I haven't got a clue (about a bid for Lawrence). Not a clue. I don't know about it. If there was any truth I would probably be the last one to hear anything about it, though.

'The deal's not bad for Matt. The deal will probably go through in the coming days. I'm waiting for an email to confirm it all.

'I'm pleased for him. He's a good lad. But I haven't got a clue with Tal Ben Haim.

'He's doing all right at the moment. We could do with him back. I have not got a clue what's going on. It would be nice to know.'