Appy fears Pearce could lead loan exits

Jason Pearce is expected to attract interest from clubs once again   Picture: Robin Jones
Jason Pearce is expected to attract interest from clubs once again Picture: Robin Jones
Pompey captain Brett Pitman Piccture: Joe Pepler

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Jason Pearce is among a clutch of players who have been targeted for a loan move away from Pompey.

The Blues centre-back has attracted plenty of admirers this term and was the subject of bids from various clubs, including Ipswich, on transfer deadline day.

With time running out for Pompey to stay alive, Blues boss Michael Appleton has braced himself for further losses to his squad, with Football League clubs still able to pounce for emergency loan signings up until March 22 – just as Birmingham did for Erik Huseklepp.

And a loan fee could yet prove to be a vital lifeline to the club.

Appleton said: ‘I’ve prepared myself to lose players.

‘We can’t rule it out. I don’t want that to happen but that’s the position we are in.

‘We’ve had a couple of enquiries and you can probably guess who they are.

‘At the minute, it’s a polite enquiry but over the next three weeks, I’m expecting a lot of phone calls. That’s the harsh reality we are in.

‘There are two or three players and Pearcey is bound to be one of them. I’m sure everyone can guess the others.

‘We don’t want to do it but if we are backed into a corner, what can you do?

‘You don’t want to lose your best talent but you want a football club to be there next week. For the sale of one player to keep the club alive, it’s not even a question.

‘As hard as that makes my job, that’s how it is.’

Even if Appleton was forced to lose players, he would not give up the fight to stay in the Championship.

He said: ‘If we did have to sell our best players, all I would do is to try to replace them with as good, if not better, players. I would get more players in who would fight to the bitter end.’