Fresh optimism over midfielder's future

BOSS Guy Whittingham believes Pompey can hang on to Jed Wallace beyond the January transfer window.

Pompey midfielder Jed Wallace Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey midfielder Jed Wallace Picture: Joe Pepler

The Blues manager is aware there is interest in his midfielder – and with new contract negotiations currently at an impasse, speculation is mounting a bid will be made for the highly-rated 19-year-old.

But Whittingham believes if Pompey can stay in the promotion hunt, it can convince the youngster to stay – at least until the end of the season.

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‘I’m planning beyond January with Jed in the squad,’ said Whittingham.

‘I think we will carry on doing well, we will get further up the league, and my thoughts are that what Jed wants is to be part of a successful team.

‘If he thinks in January that we’ve got a good chance of being successful, I just think there is a possibility he might want to stay with us and see that through to help us get promoted.

‘I really do believe Jed wants to play here and to be part of something successful.’

While clubs are certainly looking at him, there has been no firm offer yet.

Burnley and Blackburn were reported to have shown interest, while Brighton and Wolves have also been mentioned as possible suitors.

But Whittingham remains to be convinced that an acceptable bid will materialise.

He said: ‘What is the likelihood of a Championship club coming in for him in January?

‘Nobody has made a firm offer to us and put anything on the table. Nobody has even talked to us about it.

‘We’ve supposedly had lots of interest but nothing definite. You start thinking if anyone will stump up what we want in January.’

While Pompey run the risk of losing him in the summer – with a compensation figure set by a tribunal expected to be much lower than a transfer fee – Whittingham insists he is under no pressure to sell.

But the Blues boss does accept the goal posts would shift in the summer, regardless of which division Pompey find themselves in.

‘We don’t need the money – plain and simple,’ said Whittingham,

‘We are under no pressure to sell Jed Wallace in January.

‘What is more important is that we have players who want to be here and want to help us be successful. Jed is certainly one of those.

‘At the end of the season, it’s a different kettle of fish where there is compensation involved, which goes to a tribunal.

‘In the summer, it might be something else.

‘So it might be another conversation, even if we are in League One next season.’

Whittingham also believes the former Lewes man has not been distracted by the speculation over his future.

He said: ‘Naturally, it can affect some players and it’s on your mind that teams are looking at you and you forget what made these teams come and look at you.

‘Jed is not like that.’