Pompey duo to learn fate before week is out

Ricardo Rocha is set to discover his Pompey fate by Friday
Ricardo Rocha is set to discover his Pompey fate by Friday
Jamal Lowe challenges for the ball

PICTURE GALLERY: Peterborough 2 Pompey 1

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The fate of Jamie Ashdown and Ricardo Rocha is set to become clearer by the end of the week.

Pompey’s out-of-contract duo are waiting to learn whether Michael Appleton will offer them new deals.

Benjani has already been told he has no Blues future and that he will not be offered a new contract.

And Pompey have until Friday to give notice to Ashdown and Rocha as to whether deals will be put on the table for them.

After that date, they will be free to negotiate with other clubs, although their contracts do not expire until June 30.

Defender Rocha is a firm fans’ favourite who has made 76 appearances for Pompey since joining in February 2010.

Ashdown, who impressed as keeper after coming in for Stephen Henderson in March, has appeared 123 times since his summer 2004 arrival.

Yet with Pompey forced to slash wages, both would have to accept significant cuts if they were to remain at Fratton Park.

In addition, Appleton needs to weigh up whether he wants them as part of his League One plans next season.

The Blues boss said: ‘Conversations need to be had this week, the deadline is Friday.

‘There have been talks with representatives and they will continue over the next 48 hours or so.

‘I cannot say anything more than that at the moment as things still need to be sorted out.

‘I am quite relaxed in terms of what I want and what I need from the lads who are already in the building.

‘If you don’t offer them a deal by Friday then they are free to go and speak to other clubs.

‘If I feel there’s something rapidly that needs to be done before Friday then it will be done.’

The exit of Benjani has long been on the cards after a disappointing second spell at Pompey.

The veteran striker was unveiled on the pitch before the home match with Brighton back in August to much fanfare following a free transfer.

He went on to make 17 appearances, starting just six times and scoring one goal.

Tellingly, he never started a match under Appleton and was named in the squads for just three of the last 14 matches.

Niggling injuries and illness took their toll as the cult figure never recaptured his former glories.

Appleton added: ‘Benjani will not be here next year, I can guarantee that.

‘It was the wrong time for him to come back here considering his age and the desperate situation the club was in at the time.

‘Under me, he had very niggly injuries and that hampered his selection.

‘He had a fantastic career and did fantastically well for Portsmouth in his first spell down here.

‘I am not going to be disrespectful towards him, it just didn’t work out when he came back.

‘That’s just the way it is at times.’