Talk isn’t getting to wanted Pompey duo

Joel Ward in Pompey training ahead of this weekend's clash at Peterborough Picture: Malcolm Wells

Joel Ward in Pompey training ahead of this weekend's clash at Peterborough Picture: Malcolm Wells

Loyalty set to be Cook’s Pompey policy in League One

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Michael Appleton praised Pompey’s in-demand young guns for not having their heads turned by exit talk.

But the Blues boss told Joel Ward and Jason Pearce he will deliver a dressing down to them if they let the speculation affect their form.

The pair have been strongly linked with a departure from Fratton Park in the wake of the club’s latest financial woes, which includes an unpaid tax bill of £1.6m.

Ipswich have placed three bids for Ward and Pearce in their efforts to tempt them to Portman Road.

The pair remain a key part of Appleton’s plans, however, as his team bid to secure their place in the Championship.

And he has no qualms with continuing to call upon them, despite the mounting talk.

Appleton said: ‘I’ve not even mentioned it (speculation) to them. They play well and train well.

‘If I thought it was affecting them in any way I’d pull them in.

‘I’d remind them who pays their wages at the minute and tell them to forget about what’s going on.

‘I don’t feel I need to do that, though.

‘They have to take it as a compliment people want their services. It’s good, it’s fantastic and means the club are doing something right.

‘They both have a good mental attitude and good idea of how they should and shouldn’t do things.

‘I have no worries about them.

‘They got a bit of ribbing and were called Tractor Boys by the lads.

‘That’s just part and parcel of football and banter that goes on in the dressing room.

‘You have to do that. If you start taking yourself too seriously in this position you will go under.

‘They are two peas in a pod. Where one goes, the other follows. It doesn’t surprise me there’s interest in them but, as far as we are aware, the bid wasn’t acceptable.

‘It’s not enough to pay the tax bill, anyway!’

Appleton yesterday revealed Ipswich boss Paul Jewell is the only manager he has spoken to about interest in his players.

He hasn’t given up on keeping the smallest squad in the Football League together beyond Tuesday’s transfer deadline.

The Pompey boss knows the final decision on that front is out of his hands, though.

Appleton said: ‘If someone rings me and asks me about X, Y and Z, I’ll give them my thoughts, the chief exec my thoughts and the administrator my thoughts. They can then deal with it.

‘It’s my opinion. Then the final decision goes to those who run the club.

‘It all depends on the ownership situation (whether players will be sold).

‘It might be a situation that we come to a decision with an owner or Chainrai or whoever and no players will be sold.

‘They will send the bill out before February 20.

‘If there is an agreement between an owner and administrator, they have until February 20 to do their due diligence and for the Football League to do their checks.’

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