Cardiff’s Lawrence interest gives Pompey boost

Liam Lawrence spent part of last season on loan at Cardiff
Liam Lawrence spent part of last season on loan at Cardiff
Kal Naismith. Picture: Joe Pepler

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Liam Lawrence is still attracting interest from Cardiff to boost Pompey’s hopes of slashing their £9.5m wage bill.

And, according to Trevor Birch, Hayden Mullins also remains on Reading’s radar as he looks to ship out the club’s bigger earners.

If both were to go, that would be a big boost to Pompey, with the Blues needing to cut their wage bill to attract new owners and having to ship out at least two more players before they can bring anyone in.

Lawrence and Mullins both ended last season on loan to the Blues’ Championship rivals as the administrators sought to cut costs and bring in revenue.

Along with the loan exits of Erik Huseklepp and Stephen Henderson, that helped generate £690,000 in loan fees and a payroll net reduction of £205,000 per month.

Since then, Henderson has joined West Ham on a permanent basis, while a transfer embargo has prevented Birmingham following up any potential interest in Huseklepp. In addition, Birch insists there remains interest in both Lawrence and Mullins.

Lawrence made 15 appearances for the Bluebirds, establishing himself as a regular in midfield during their play-off bid and largely impressing.

As for Mullins, he played seven times as Reading clinched the Championship title on their way to promotion to the Premier League.

Pompey have yet to receive a bid for either player, who are among 10 players effectively put up for sale by the club as they look to drive down the wage bill.

But Birch insists the duo’s former loan clubs are continuing to monitor their availability.

He said: ‘There is talk about Liam and Hayden – although the clubs are not falling over themselves to do business.

‘However, there is interest there. As ever, we are just waiting for things to develop.

‘At this moment there is nothing concrete on either of them but Cardiff and Reading are watching things. That is all it is at the moment.

‘I am not speaking to the clubs myself, an agent is dealing with that.

‘As ever, it is still very early in the summer in terms of transfer market activity.’

Cardiff have targeted Lawrence and Brighton’s Craig Noone as candidates to solve their right-sided midfield problems.

Malky Mackay has money to spend and is keen to strengthen a squad he doesn’t believe is large enough.

Lawrence’s loan performances did his chances of a permanent move no harm.

Apart from playing on the right flank, he also displayed his versatility by playing in the centre of midfield.

Meanwhile, Reading have been linked with Hull midfielder Robert Koren so far this summer.

Yet Mullins could also come into the equation as the Royals prepare for the Premier League.

The 33-year-old’s experience could be vital to Brian McDermott’s squad.

Pompey will not seek out the possibility of a compromise agreement with Mullins until they can be sure there is no interest.