TRANSFER LATEST: ‘Five or six’ clubs interested in Portsmouth’s Joel Ward

IPSWICH Town face plenty of competition for Portsmouth player Joel Ward.

Blues boss Paul Jewell met the versatile defender/midfielder in January to discuss a move, only for the south coast club to pull the plug on the switch.

Pompey have since gone into administration and been relegated from the Championship.

But while manager Michael Appleton believes 22-year-old Ward is set to be the next to leave in the great Pompey exodus, it may not necessarily be to Town.

Appleton said: “There could be five or six in the race for Joel. That can only be a good thing.

“I would be very surprised if he’s not the next one to move on.”

Blues owner Marcus Evans is set to speak to the player’s agent, with Crystal Palace believed to have entered the race for his signature.

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Ward recently underwent surgery for a groin injury, with Appleton saying: “He had his op, but I’ve seen him and he’s walking about fine.

“The operation is straightforward. It’s one about 75 per cent of players have in their career.”