New boy lifts lid on leftfield Exeter arrival as he fires warning to Portsmouth keepers

Lewis Ward has revealed the story behind his whirlwind arrival as he warned Pompey’s keepers he’s here to play.

Friday, 29th January 2021, 12:30 pm

The Blues’ fourth new face of the January told how his move to Fratton Park was completed just 24 hours after he first became aware of Kenny Jackett’s possible interest.

Ward’s signing on loan until the summer came at the end of a frenetic period in the hunt for back-up to Craig MacGillivray, with Alex Bass sidelined with a leg stress fracture.

Pompey were yesterday running the rule over Huddersfield keeper Jacob Chapman with a view to a move.

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Other options were also being considered, as the club looked at alternatives who could fit within the constraints of the £2.5m League One wage cap.

But once it was clear the experienced Exeter man was available, attentions turned to getting a deal over the line for the 23-year-old.

Ward said: ‘It’s happened really, really quickly.

Pompey have completed the loan signing of Exeter keeper Lewis Ward. Picture: Portsmouth FC

‘I’ve had some interest in the window from other clubs given that I was available and negotiations were going on there.

‘But I got the call on Wednesday lunchtime Portsmouth were interested, so I said “look, let’s get this done”.

‘If Portsmouth are that keen, I’m that keen to go there - so it happened over 24 hours and it all got ticked off.

‘It was waiting to hear if things were going to be agreed at both ends and final checks.

‘Then at the medical you’re really hoping they don’t find something you’re not expecting.

‘Until you sign the paper it’s a nervy time.

‘But I came down to the training ground on Thursday, did the medical and signed so it was a long day – and a very good day.’

Ward arrives as deputy to first-choice MacGillivray with Bass sidelined and prospects Duncan Turnbull and Taylor Seymour the other keeping options.

But the former Reading trainee made it clear he has ambitions to make the grade at Pompey after picking up a healthy amount of league experience.

He added: ‘I’m coming in to compete.

‘I’m aware I’m not going to walk into the side and play on Saturday.

‘I’m well aware of my goal and that’s to come in, compete and push.

‘The aim is to get a call-up, make an appearance and show what I can do.

‘I was told we need a replacement for Bass because of injuries.

‘I was told they liked me and they felt I could come in and push Craig, make it a fight and then see what happens.

‘It gives you a massive confidence boost to know a man of Kenny Jackett’s experience has been following me.

‘To have someone like that back you means a lot.

‘There’s not many who would have done their homework to his level (following Ward from his Readig days) and probably would have only seen me in recent years in League Two.

‘If he’s been following me for a long time that brings me a lot of confidence.

‘I’ve played nearly 100 senior games now and nearly 50 in League Two, plus all the other senior competitions.

‘So I feel for my age I bring a lot of experience – and hopefully I can now prove myself in League One.’

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