Ipswich Town preparing to reignite attempts to sign Portsmouth’s Jason Pearce

IPSWICH Town boss Paul Jewell is preparing to reignite attempts to sign Portsmouth centre-back Jason Pearce after learning that the south coast club are keen to offload him prior to next Thursday’s loan deadline.

Pompey dug their heels in over their no-nonsense defender during the January transfer window, rejecting a number of bids from Ipswich after Jewell identified him as the man he can build his back four around for years to come.

Things have changed since then though, with Portsmouth going into administration for the second time in as many years and sinking to the bottom of the Championship table following a 10-point deduction.

Administrator Trevor Birch recently admitted that the financial situation was “worse than first feared” and that the club was “struggling to make the end of the season”.

A firesale of players has already begun, with Liam Lawrence (Cardiff), Erik Huseklepp (Birmingham) and Stephen Henderson (West Ham) all leaving on loan with view to a permanent summer switch.

And while Pearce has formed a strong emotional attachment to the club which nurtured him as a youngster – the skipper reduced to tears after the recent 3-1 home defeat to Middlesbrough when it dawned on him it could be his last game at Fratton Park – it looks increasingly likely that he will have to move on.

The Ipswich Star understands that three clubs have signalled their interest in Pearce after Portsmouth contacted a number of parties to explain the situation surrounding their key assets.

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Jewell – who also tried to sign Henderson and the versatile Joel Ward in January only to baulk at their wage demands – has always remained coy when asked about whether he would try again to sign any Pompey players, with Blues chief executive Simon Clegg recently describing it as ‘a live issue’.

Following an impressive return of 17 points from a possible 24, Town are certainly in no rush to pay loan fees and extra wages between now and the end of the season. However, Jewell is keen to strengthen his defence ahead of next season and may be forced to act before others beat him to his targets.