Wanted trio are the future at Fratton

Pompey manager Michael Appleton Picture: Robin Jones

Pompey manager Michael Appleton Picture: Robin Jones

Carl Baker. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Pompey’s in-demand trio have been hailed as the future of the club.

Appleton heaped praise on Stephen Henderson, Joel Ward and Jason Pearce for their commitment to the Blues in the face of intense interest from Championship rivals.

Ipswich doggedly chased all three players on deadline day as a succession of bids were chalked up for their services.

But despite the troubles Pompey currently face, the players all expressed a desire to stay put.

Appleton said: ‘The three boys spoke to me on the day they were involved in the speculation and said they don’t want to leave the football club. They said they were happy and that is nice.

‘It’s a recognition they can see where I want to take the football club.

‘If they can see where we’re building towards and where we want to get to at some point in the future, then fantastic.

‘I think we have a sensible, young bunch of players I want to build the club around.

‘I was delighted we got to keep them and I wasn’t left to think “where do we go from here?” Hopefully, we’re in a position where we can build from this.’

Appleton is cautious over whether clubs will come back in for his stars when the loan window opens on Wednesday, when permanent deals can be put in place for the summer.

But he believes the attitudes of Pearce, Henderson and Ward is echoed throughout the squad.

He said: ‘To have these different personalities but the same willingness to deal with situations like this is great.

‘I think we have a group who are humble and understand the situation the club are in at the minute.

‘They are determined to do all they possibly can to keep the club where it is.’

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