Lampitt: We had to move on

David Lampitt defended Pompey's decision to withdraw contract offers to Michael Brown and Richard Hughes and declared: We had to move on.

The midfield pair had been given what the Blues chief executive described as 'reasonable and fair' new deals in a bid to resolve the ongoing contract wrangle which has left the pair on the sidelines for the past two games.

But with neither player happy with the terms, the club have since informed the duo's representatives the offers are no longer on the table.

As playing for the Blues again would trigger new deals on wages the club cannot afford, it looks certain Brown and Hughes will now leave during the current transfer window.

Lampitt explained: 'Discussions have been ongoing but we haven't managed to reach agreement.

'From the club's point of view, we made very reasonable offers to both players, which we think were fair.

'It's their prerogative to accept or reject those offers.

'Unfortunately, we have not reached agreement and their offers have now been withdrawn as we have to move on and make some tough decisions about building for the future with alternative resources.

'We can't wait until January 31 to know where we stand.'

While Pompey's tactic of withdrawing a contract eventually worked with tempting Ricardo Rocha back to Fratton Park in the summer, both Brown and Hughes believe the original offers are well below what they would expect.

Lampitt, who informed the players' representatives earlier this week, said: 'We've made it clear from the start that we have stretched to the maximum that we can support under our business plan.

'There's no criticism of anyone. I think the whole process has been handled in the right way.

'If we're not going to reach agreement on terms, then the reality is that we have to live with that. Those are the difficult decisions we have to make as a club in order to protect ourselves from getting ourselves into a difficult financial position that we have been in previously.

'Every single football club has financial limits, with perhaps the exception of one of two at the top end of the Premier League.

'Sometimes that means we can't get over the line on particular deals that we might want to complete. That just comes with the territory.

'Those are the constraints we have to live by in order to honour the CVA and the payments to creditors over the next few years. We've got to be responsible with the club's money.'

Meanwhile, Tal Ben-Haim is set to remain at West Ham until the end of the season, while John Utaka has dismissed rumours of a switch to Konyaspor.

Ben-Haim's Upton Park loan spell expired after last night's trip to Newcastle but discussions are believed to be ongoing over extending the Israeli defender's stay for the rest of the season.

While the defender won't be returning, one player who insists he is staying is Utaka.

The Nigerian international has this week been linked with the Turkish strugglers.

Konyaspor's president, Bahar Karapinar, even claimed on the club's official website that terms had been agreed.

However, Utaka has since issued a denial.

He said: 'I want to set the record straight after hearing a few rumours – I'm not moving to Turkish club Konyaspor.

'My heart is firmly at Portsmouth FC.'

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