Birch admits interest in Pompey stars

Trevor Birch has admitted Championship clubs are already in talks with Pompey over a raid for their stars.

With the Blues relegated to League One, the administrator is now seeking to bring funds into the club through player sales.

Jason Pearce and Joel Ward head the list of first-teamers who Michael Appleton is anticipating losing over the summer.

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Pearce, who has been crowned The News/Sports Mail Player of the Season, appears to be heading for Leeds.

Neil Warnock is on the look out for a central defender and his scouts have been in attendance during the past few Pompey matches.

In addition, Ipswich are long-time admirers of Ward and met the 22-year-old at the end of the emergency loan window over a prospective move.

Both players had been eager to see out the season at Fratton Park. But with Pompey desperate to ease their financial woes and reduce their wage bill, the duo represent bankable assets.

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And Birch conceded there have already been approaches for a number of Appleton’s squad.

He said: ‘There is a situation where we have to move players out.

‘We cannot afford most of the players we have got. We simply have no alternative.

‘We have had conversations with a couple of clubs and have received interest in Jason Pearce.

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‘We are still talking, however. There is still things to be sorted.

‘As it stands, we are actively talking to a number of agents and clubs.

‘We have to reduce the wage bill for the club to survive, it is as simple as that.’

Stephen Henderson will complete a permanent move to West Ham once the transfer window reopens.