Paul Jewell has held transfer talks with Portsmouth’s Joel Ward

PAUL Jewell spent two hours trying to convince versatile Portsmouth player Joel Ward to sign for Ipswich Town on Sunday.

The 22-year-old was close to signing for the Blues on January transfer deadline day, but the move fell through after the club baulked at both his and team-mate Stephen Henderson’s wage demands.

Cash-strapped Pompey are currently contacting clubs in an attempt to offload their prize assets ahead of tomorrow’s loan deadline and raise the funds required to avoid liquidation.

Keeper Henderson has moved to West Ham, while the EADT understands that Town’s interest in Jason Pearce has cooled after the Hammers – as well as fellow Championship automatic promotion hopefuls Southampton – began to show interest in the centre-back.

Instead, we believe they have focused all their attentions on Ward, with Jewell seeing him as man who could provide competition for both full-back slots and on the wings next season.

“I met one of them on Sunday after getting permission off of Portsmouth,” revealed Jewell, when asked if he was still looking to sign any players from the south coast club. “Whether that’s going to happen I don’t know.

“I’m not going to tell you who it is but we chatted for a couple of hours. If it happens, great, if it doesn’t then we move on.

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“I think he liked what he saw, but at the same time I don’t think the player is short of offers either.”

Jewell, whose side host Burnley tonight at Portman Road (7.45pm ko), continued: “We won’t be bringing anyone in on loan just for the sake of it. If we do something it will be with a view to them being here next season. I’m more interested in building for the future rather than short-term stuff at the moment.

“If we were still only three or four points off the bottom three we might have to make some short-term decisions, but hopefully we’ve got enough points now that means we don’t have to spend money that’s not vital to us going up or down.

“We’re aware that we need to improve in a lot of areas and we are off scouting at a lot of games every night. We’re looking to improve the squad for next season and beyond.”

– See today’s EADT and Ipswich Star for full match preview.