Ipswich aren’t giving up the pursuit of Joel Ward and Jason Pearce.
Pompey have rejected a duel bid thought to be in the region of £1m for the pair by their Championship rivals.
Michael Appleton has made it clear he’s not interested in getting rid of Ward and Pearce – and is under no pressure to cash in on them.
But Tractor Boys boss Paul Jewell is still keen to make a move for the young guns.
He said: ‘The bids have been rejected. It’s up to the chief executive to try and come to a deal if a deal can be done.
‘If it can’t be done we move on and we go elsewhere.’
Appleton laughed off Ipswich’s effort to land Ward and Pearce, who have both furthered their reputations this season.
And he insisted they are a big part of his future plans.
Appleton said: ‘It wasn’t really a bid – but that’s up to them.
‘If they come in with a ridiculous offer for players you have to think about it.
‘But I would be very surprised if that happens in January.
‘Joel and Jason are the type of players we’d want to build a team around anyway.
‘We’d be crazy to sell them.’
Meanwhile, Appleton admitted he is keen on a number of Manchester City’s youngsters.
But he said that midfielder Joan Angel Roman isn’t one of them.
Appleton said; ‘I know quite a few of the City lads.
‘Abdul Razak is a quality player and there’s the lad (Alex) Nimely, but he’s just gone back out on loan.
‘There’s two or three lads at City we’d definitely have a look at, younger ones, if we had the opportunity but he (Roman) is not one of them.’