Ward delight at Pearce Pompey reunion

112472-148_POMPEY_HAWKS_SR_11/7/11'Pompey vs Havant and Waterlooville at West Leigh Park.'Pompeys Jason Pearce in action.''Picture:Steve Reid 112472-148
112472-148_POMPEY_HAWKS_SR_11/7/11'Pompey vs Havant and Waterlooville at West Leigh Park.'Pompeys Jason Pearce in action.''Picture:Steve Reid 112472-148
Scott Giles  Photography by Habibur Rahman

Genius who studied in Havant is off to Oxford University with five A and A*s under his belt

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Reserve team-mates, Bournemouth team-mates.

Now, finally, Joel Ward and Jason Pearce are team-mates for Pompey’s first XI.

A fixture at the Hawks on Monday night marked the opening friendly of the Blues’ pre-season programme.

It also represented the coming together of Ward and Pearce for the third time in their young careers.

Only, now it was in the Pompey first team.

Fittingly, West Leigh Park provided the setting, a venue which had served as their old stomping ground during their reserve days.

It was a time when the duo partnered each other in the centre of defence on occasions.

They reunited at Bournemouth, where Ward spent the entire 2007-08 campaign on loan.

By that stage, Pearce had been a Dean Court regular for 12 months.

Sure enough, they spent the majority of the season in the same Cherries defence.

This summer has brought them together once more, following Steve Cotterill’s decision to snap up Pearce.

And Ward is relishing regularly lining-up alongside his old playing partner.

He said: ‘I’ve always got on well with Jason, right from when he was first here.

‘He’s two years older than me. I was a schoolboy when he was doing his apprenticeship.

‘But I did play in the reserves with him for a couple of games.

‘I can remember us also playing in the centre of defence together.

‘Then when I went to Bournemouth for a season on loan he was there as well.

‘He was playing centre-half mainly, while I was playing at right-back for the majority of the time.

‘We did have a few games in the centre of defence, though.

‘Jason is a great guy with a big heart and a top lad who gives everything.

‘He is a full-blooded defender who gives everything he has got. He puts everything into everything.

‘You’ll see that when he goes up for a good, old scrap and fight he always comes out on top!

‘Jason will be a good addition to the squad and I’m looking forward to playing with him again.’

Ward made 25 appearances during his Cherries spell.

However, he missed the second half of the season through an ankle injury.

Regardless, it was a loan period which has proven to be crucial in his development.

The 21-year-old is now every inch a first-team player.

In his maiden full season with Pompey last term, only Jamie Ashdown, Hayden Mullins and David Nugent appeared more.

After attending a two-week training camp in America during the close season, he is pushing to remain a key part of Cotterill’s plans.

It remains unlikely whether Ward will ever reprise a central-defensive partnership with Pearce.

Nonetheless, he believes the former Bournemouth skipper can have a massive impact upon his Fratton Park return.

He added: ‘Jason’s attitude to the games is similar to John Terry.

‘He gets very pumped up and has this great winning attitude and desire to do his best all the time.

‘He wants to win and is a great leader as well.

‘With that winning attitude, it’s great having him at the club.’