Pompey Supporters Trust to rival Balram Chainrai bid

Fratton Park

The Pompey Supporters' Trust say it is close to finalising an offer to rival former owner Balram Chainrai's bid to buy stricken Portsmouth.

Chainrai made an offer to buy the club on Friday but the PST has been backed by a few "high net worth" individuals who have pledged six-figure sums.

The contribution of those individuals should exceed £1m, the Trust said.

"It is looking very encouraging," PST spokesman Scott Mclachlan told BBC Radio Solent.

Administrator Trevor Birch previously doubted the Trust's ability to raise sufficient funds to buy the club.

But PST say it has now had around 600 new £1,000 pledges since May and hopes to reach their 1,000 person target by the weekend.

This has seen Birch change his opinion on the likelihood of a supporters' takeover, according to Mclachlan.

Portsmouth City Council have also told BBC Sport they are now considering investing in the bid after productive talks with the PST.

However, they say they will only consider doing so if three conditions are met.

The council say they would only be able to buy an asset, not give money - with the obvious asset being Fratton Park.

Moreover, the council would only buy assets at their current market value. Chainrai has valued Fratton Park at £12m - the council's valuation is £2m.

Finally, the council say it will only invest if the Trust has a business plan which will work.

Despite the new backing for the PST, manager Michael Appleton says Chainrai is still the more likely candidate to take over.

"I think from the Chainrai point of view they have been given the opportunity to reclaim the football club," Appleton told BBC Sport.

"I think over the next six weeks or so there will be a CVA written up and as long as that is agreed they will be the likely candidates to take the club back over.

"They've always said they wouldn't allow the club to go into liquidation, if there wasn't other buyers out there to take the club forward then they said they would do it, and that is the case."

Meanwhile keeper Jamie Ashdown, defender Ricardo Rocha and striker Benjani have been told they do not have futures at the club and will leave in June.

But Erik Huseklepp has returned to Portsmouth following the end of his loan spell at Birmingham City.

Midfielder Joel Ward is expected to leave in the coming days. Leeds United, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Ipswich have all been linked with a £450,000 move for the player.

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