Chelsea starlet itching to join Pompey

Conor Clifford is eager to play with Pompey this season   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Conor Clifford is eager to play with Pompey this season Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Conor Clifford weighed up a future with Pompey and promised: I have no doubts about joining.

The rising young Chelsea star has spoken of his desperation to ply his trade on loan at Fratton Park next season.

That’s despite the uncertainty that shrouds the Blues, with the club in the middle of a week which looks certain to decide whether they can survive.

Administrator Trevor Birch has indicated Pompey will be liquidated this Friday unless the futures of the club’s senior players can be resolved.

Liam Lawrence and Tal Ben Haim remain the two key problems on that front, with time ticking down until the deadline.

Clifford has no hesitations about linking up with Michael Appleton’s squad in League One, however.

The 20-year-old is currently training with Pompey with a view to a loan move, until what lies ahead becomes clear.

And the Republic of Ireland under-21 midfielder has insisted he is keen on wearing a royal blue shirt next season.

Clifford said: ‘I’m really happy to be here. Hopefully the club can get sorted and I can sign here for the season.

‘From what I’ve seen, you wouldn’t know there were problems off the pitch. I’m not worried about that. It’s been good.

‘I’m on my last year at Chelsea and I’m looking to go out on loan.

‘I got the call off the gaffer (Appleton) here to come down, have a look and see what happens.

‘Hopefully the club can get sorted and I can come here on loan for the season. That’s what I’d love to do.

‘I can see it’s an unbelievable club with great fans and good lads. Hopefully it can get sorted.

‘I’ve been playing games for the reserves at Chelsea but it’s such a massive squad at the club.

‘There are lads who are looking to go out on loan and look somewhere else because it’s so hard to break through at Chelsea.

‘So my plan is to get out and play as many games as I can this year.

‘Then I can see what happens next year.

‘I just need to get out and play first-team football somewhere – and I’d love that to be at Portsmouth.’

Clifford has already enjoyed success at Stamford Bridge, captaining his side to FA Youth Cup victory two years ago.

And the Dublin-born talent knows about football in the lower leagues after spells on loan at Plymouth, Notts County and Yeovil.

Clifford believes he can impress at Pompey next season – in a side he feels can bounce back up to the Championship.

‘I feel I’m a midfielder who is hard in the tackle and gets from box to box,’ said Clifford.

‘I like to shoot when I’m in and around goal so, hopefully, I have an eye for goal, too.

‘League One’s going to be a good league but I think Portsmouth can be strong.

‘We will have the atmosphere at home and the fans pushing us on.

‘People won’t want to come to Fratton Park.

‘I definitely see Portsmouth bouncing straight back up if they can get a good squad together.’