Paul Jewell unlikely to reignite interest in Portsmouth trio

A FIRESALE at cash-strapped Portsmouth may be under way, but Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell will not be rushing to reignite his interest in a trio of players there.

The Blues boss made several bids for keeper Stephen Henderson, centre-back Jason Pearce and the versatile Joel Ward throughout the January transfer window.

However, despite facing financial turmoil, the south coast club were reluctant to sell. Fees were eventually agreed for Henderson and Ward late on transfer deadline day, but the deals collapsed when the players – keen to stay put – put in wage requests which Town baulked at.

Pompey have since gone into administration and are now in the Championship relegation zone following a 10-point deduction.

Manager Michael Appleton was yesterday forced to loan key attacker Erik Huseklepp to Championship rivals, Birmingham City, in an attempt to lower the wage bill.

And he has been told that he must let more go before he can consider bringing others in.

Asked if that would see him go back in for his trio of targets, Jewell said: “They didn’t have any money before and they still said no!

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“I think I got a bit of stick off Portsmouth fans for saying that before though, so I don’t want to upset them anymore. It’s a tragedy what’s going on there and I feel for their fans.

“I did find it quite strange how reticent they were to do deals considering they are absolutely skint. All I said at the time was I wasn’t sure who was making the decisions.

“I spoke to their manager once, then after that it was done at a higher level than me. We kept getting mixed messages.

“To be honest, it was all a bit messy and it might be best that we keep away from it.

“We’ll let Portsmouth run themselves, we’ve got enough to worry about at our own club.

“I think they’ve got good players, but it’s not something that’s at the top of my mind.”

Town may have won their last four games, but Jewell says he is keeping his feet on the floor.

And he has not ruled out dipping into the loan market over the coming weeks.

“We are looking to improve the squad, in all areas, between now and the start of next season,” said the Blues boss.

“The two centre-backs (Tommy Smith and Damien Delaney) have done terrifically well in the last two games, but we are still very light in that area.”