Appleton revealed clubs are lining up to land the Blues’ home-grown talent.
Ipswich appeared to be in the driving seat to snap up the 22-year-old after they tracked Ward through the January transfer window.
But Appleton revealed ‘five or six’ sides are now keen on the Emsworth ace.
Crystal Palace are one of the teams rumoured to be chasing Ward, who recently underwent a hernia operation.
Appleton said: ‘There could be five or six in the race for Joel. That can only be a good thing.
‘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.
‘Most players have a hernia at some point in their career.
‘I would be very surprised if he’s not the next one to move on.’
Meanwhile, Pompey have been linked with a move for Barnet striker Izale McLeod.
McLeod impressed this season with the Bees, smashing in 22 goals for the League Two strugglers and was named in the PFA divisional team of the year.
Meanwhile, Hayden Mullins has stated he’s keen to make his temporary move to Reading permanent after their promotion to the Premier League.
He said: ‘I’ll try to sort something out if I can and if I could stay here that would be absolutely brilliant.’