TRANSFER LATEST: Joel Ward set to decide his future by Wednesday

PORTSMOUTH administrator Trevor Birch says the club expects Joel Ward to make a decision on his future by Wednesday.

Ipswich Town manager Paul Jewell came close to signing the versatile defender/midfielder in January, with the 22-year-old having been shown around Portman Road before his south coast employers pulled the plug on a move.

Having since gone into administration and been relegated to League One, Pompey are now being forced to sell their key assets.

And the EADT and Ipswich Star understands that five other Championship clubs – Leeds United, Blackpool, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Sheffield Wednesday – are all now battling the Blues for Ward’s signature, with a fee of around �500,000 believed to have been agreed.

When asked about Ward, Birch said: “We are still waiting for news on that situation – there has been no further movement.

“Obviously I cannot be certain when it will go through but I would have thought it could be around the middle of this week.

“It has taken time. We have all been waiting on this one, hopefully it can go through soon.”

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– For all the latest, see tomorrow’s EADT and Ipswich Star.