Halford happy to be reunited with old pal Howard

Sheffield United's Brian Howard celebrates his goal against Preston North End with Greg Halford.
Sheffield United's Brian Howard celebrates his goal against Preston North End with Greg Halford.
Pompey boss Kenny Jackett Picture: Joe Pepler

Pompey hit transfer impasse

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Greg Halford is happy to come back to Pompey next season.

And he has told Brian Howard he should follow him to Fratton Park, if and when that move materialises.

Howard is a player on Steve Cotterill’s radar, with a list of targets assembled to boost the Blues boss’ threadbare options.

The 28-year-old Reading midfielder is keen to make the move, too, and last week issued a come-and-get-me plea to the Pompey boss.

The playmaker is looking for regular football after finding himself in and out of the starting 11 at this season’s play-off finalists.

Howard has been told by Royals manager Brian McDermott he can leave, with a year remaining on his contract at the Madejski Stadium.

A number of Championship sides are keen on taking the player, who made 28 appearances last season.

Arch-rivals Southampton are strongly interested, meaning Pompey could face a battle with their enemies from along the M27 for Howard’s signature.

He almost joined Saints at the end of the loan window in March, although that move never materialised.

But Howard has made it clear he would like to link up with Cotterill after the takeover by the Convers Sports Initiatives group last week.

The former Barnsley and Sheffield United player has been doing his homework on life at Pompey.

That has led to him getting on the phone to his mate Halford to get the lowdown.

The duo played together at Bramall Lane, where they turned out for the Blades in the 2008-09 season.

Halford was quick to give a ringing endorsement of the team spirit engineered by Cotterill in a tough campaign.

The on-loan Wolves man spoke of the enjoyment he had as he found the kind of regular first-team football both he and his pal are searching for.

Halford has no doubt it would be a good move for player and club if Howard was to become one of the first signings of the new regime.

He said: ‘Brian is a player I know. I know him from my Sheffield United days.

‘I spoke to him and said I had a good time at Portsmouth. He would definitely do the same if he was to make the move.

‘I think he wants to move from Reading and he wants to stay in the same area.

‘I know that he wants to be playing football regularly, like we all do.

‘He’s a good lad and a good player.

‘He’d definitely be a good signing for Portsmouth if they can grab him.’

The news of the Convers Sports Initiatives group’s takeover has allowed optimism to grow among supporters after they sealed their buyout from Balram Chainrai and Levi Kushnir last week.

Halford’s stance has echoed that and he yesterday told The News he is ready to link up with Cotterill once again if the two clubs can agree a deal.

That flew in the face of weekend reports suggesting the 26-year-old wanted to stay and fight for a regular start in the Premier League at Wolves.

Pompey have begun discussions with Wolves to bring the player back after he made himself a fixture at the heart of the club’s defence last season.

Halford arrived in October as Pompey emerged from a miserable start to the campaign.

There were plenty of other rocky moments along the way, though, as his team flirted with the hope of making the play-offs before eventually running out of steam.

Halford is glad he was able to play a part in the club’s recovery from the brink of going out of existence, though.

And now he is glad the signs are encouraging for Pompey moving forward.

Halford said: ‘The club has been FA Cup winners and runners-up in the past three years.

‘It’s madness it found itself in the state it did.

‘But I had a good time there last season and things now look to be on the up again.’