Ward next to go but no offers for team-mates

Joel Ward will be next to leave Pompey, says Trevor Birch
Joel Ward will be next to leave Pompey, says Trevor Birch
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Trevor Birch has revealed Joel Ward is the only player to have attracted a bid as the Pompey fire sale hits the buffers.

The Emsworth youngster is this week expected to leave Fratton Park in a deal in the region of £450,000.

Birch has insisted Leeds may not be his destination, with Ipswich and Burnley also talking to the 22-year-old.

But the Blues are still waiting for bids for the rest of the squad members, all of whom have effectively been put up for sale.

The likes of Greg Halford, Erik Huseklepp, David Norris and Luke Varney continue to attract enquiries.

But following the exit of Jason Pearce to Leeds, Ward is the only other player Pompey have received an offer for.

It is a concerning time for Birch as he seeks to drive down the club’s £10.5m wage bill.

Pompey’s administrator said: ‘Joel Ward will be the next to go but I am not certain of the timescale on that. That is progressing. I would have thought something should be happening in the next few days.

‘It is not necessarily going to be Leeds. He has met a few other clubs in total and has been talking things over with them.

‘We are waiting to see what the outcome will be.

‘However, I am not in an advanced stage with any others at the moment. I am aware of other clubs’ interest.

‘There have been enquiries but we have not even gone into negotiations.

‘There is nothing else on the table at this point other than for Joel.’

The expected exit of Ward, however, does little to assist Birch’s efforts to get the wage bill under control and bring in much-needed funds to keep the club alive.

Ward, whose last contract was signed in January 2011, is one of the lowest-paid players at the club.

But he made 46 appearances this season – more than any other Pompey player.

Pearce, who has already left for Leeds, was also one of the lower earners.

Birch is only too aware of the necessity to shift those on high wages.

But they would be likely to have to take a pay cut to go elsewhere.

That could hamper the exit of players.

For Pompey’s administrator, though, time is not what he has as he looks to clear the decks.

He added: ‘The players themselves are waiting to see what happens.

‘They want to know what interest is out there before anything else.

‘Obviously, compromise agreements are an option and is something to consider.

‘However, it is important to remember we haven’t got the money to even reach a compromise at the minute.’