Pompey triallist aims to take league by storm

Brian Howard
Brian Howard
Matt Clarke in action against Rotherham

Gaffer: Pompey draw would have been a robbery

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Brian Howard outlined his ambition and declared: I want to be Pompey’s best player in League One.

The former Reading midfielder continues to be forced to wait for his opportunity to put pen to paper on a contract at Fratton Park, with boss Michael Appleton unable to sign any players until the club’s high earners leave.

But it’s encouraging for the Blues that Howard is planning ahead with Pompey for the new campaign.

And the 29-year-old has also given himself some personal goals – as and when Appleton gets the green light to start rebuilding his squad.

Howard said: ‘When I spoke to the manager about coming to the club, I was impressed with what he had to say about the direction he wanted to take it.

‘I want to be a part of that. But, personally, if I drop to League One, I also want to put pressure on myself to be one of the best players in the division.

‘I think the gaffer sees that. He wants to see me fulfil that and he wants to get in other players who have played in the Championship alongside me.

‘I would not be coming here to just get a contract or to stay on the south coast to be happy with my family.

‘I’m here to help the club kick on. I can see the manager getting me back to the way I was two years ago, getting the best out of me and making me a better player along the way.

‘I’ve said I would like to sign here if we can do something and the gaffer has said he would love to have me if he can do something.

‘We’re both in agreement on that so now it’s just hopefully a matter of time to get the club sorted and for me to sign on the dotted line.

‘If he gets the all-clear to get the people in he wants to get in, then it’s something I would like to do as soon as possible.’

With high-earners Tal Ben Haim, and Liam Lawrence still on the wage bill, Pompey cannot sign anyone.

And administrator Trevor Birch insists the club will be liquidated by August 10 unless those two leave the club.

And that means Howard – and several other prospective new recruits – must wait for a chance to sign a contract.

He said: ‘I’ve spoken to Liam about it and he is trying to get a club and get himself sorted out.

‘I’m not too sure what’s going on with Tal, but I’m sure there is stuff going on in the background.

‘Football can be a selfish game sometimes. You’ve got to come together as a team out there but you’ve got to look after yourself off the pitch.

‘It’s not my job to sort them out. All I can do is wait and hope to get the call from the manager.’