Pompey duo Jason Pearce and Joel Ward are already being called Tractor Boys!

IPSWICH Town transfer targets Jason Pearce and Joel Ward are already being referred to as Tractor Boys.

Blues boss Paul Jewell is waiting to hear whether a bid for the pair – believed to be close to �2m and which includes a third Pompey player – has been accepted.

The south coast club have found themselves in yet another financial crisis and, with no buyer on the horizon, may have to make player sales before next Tuesday night’s transfer deadline if they are to pay off a �1.6m tax bill.

Asked if he’d spoken to centre-back Pearce and the versatile Ward, Portsmouth manager Michael Appelton – who quickly rebuffed Town’s second offer of around �1.4m for the pair – said: “I’ve not even mentioned it to them.

“If I thought it was affecting them in any way I’d pull them in and remind them who pays their wages and tell them to forget about what’s going on. I don’t feel I need to do that, though because they are training well.” He continued: “They have to take it as a compliment people want their services. It’s good, it’s fantastic and means the club are doing something right.

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“They both have a good mental attitude and good idea of how they should and shouldn’t do things. I have no worries about them.

“They got a bit of ribbing and were called Tractor Boys by the lads, but that’s just part and parcel of football and an example of the banter that goes on in the dressing room.

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“You have to do that. If you start taking yourself too seriously in this position you will go under.” He added: “They (Pearce and Ward) are two peas in a pod, where one goes the other follows.

“It doesn’t surprise me there’s interest in them, but, as far as we are aware, the (second) bid wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t enough to pay the tax bill anyway!”

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