Fans’ favourite edges closer to Pompey exit

Joel Ward is close to moving to Crystal Palace   Picture: Barry Zee

Joel Ward is close to moving to Crystal Palace Picture: Barry Zee

Pompey winger Kyle Bennett Picture: Joe Pepler

Bennett: I want to stay at Pompey

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Crystal Palace are in pole position to sign Joel Ward.

But despite reports claiming he has already moved to Selhurst Park, the Pompey favourite is yet to agree terms with the Eagles.

And Ward is not expected to seal his exit from Fratton Park until Monday at the earliest.

The News understands the Emsworth talent was left impressed with Dougie Freedman after meeting the Palace boss earlier this week.

That has seen the Londoners jump to the front of the queue in the race to capture the versatile 22-year-old for a fee of around £450,000.

Palace are keen to bring in a right-back, with Nathaniel Clyne expected to move to the Premier League this summer.

However, Leeds and Burnley are still in with an outside chance of landing Ward if talks with Palace break down, although Sheffield Wednesday and Blackpool are believed to be out of the hunt.

Ward, who came through Pompey’s youth system and grew up as an avid Blues fan, would be the second player to leave Fratton since the end of the season.

Jason Pearce moved to Leeds for £500,000 earlier this month as Pompey look to bring in crucial funds to ease their financial crisis.

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