Portsmouth manager Michael Appleton quashes transfer speculation

Portsmouth boss Michael Appleton says their financial problems have not resulted in new bids for his players.

The club were issued with a winding-up petition by HM Revenue and Customs on 3 January and will appear at the Royal Courts of Justice on 20 February.

Earlier in the month, Portsmouth turned down a double bid from Ipswich for Joel Ward and Jason Pearce.

"I've only had one conversation with one manager - Paul Jewell 10 days ago," Appleton told BBC Radio Solent.

Other players at the club have also been linked with moves away from Fratton Park with Portsmouth currently owing HMRC £1.6m in unpaid tax.

Portsmouth are searching for new owners after parent company Convers Sports Initiatives (CSI) entered administration in November.

There is an urgency to complete a deal with fresh backers, as investment is needed if Portsmouth are to meet ongoing costs.

"I'm hearing and reading about bids for my players, but if that is the case it has been done in the wrong way," he added.

"I would expect that if a manager wanted one of my players they would do it in the correct way and phone me."

Appleton added there had not been any pressure on him to sell any players to help meet ongoing costs while the club search for new owners.

"We still have the squad we had before this week's news," he said.

"And I will continue to work with the players I have available. If I do have to sell players then that is the way it is.

"But at the moment I've still got the squad to choose from for the game on Saturday and until told differently I'm hoping it will be the same for the game against Hull."

Pompey face Peterborough on Saturday, and he admitted the winding-up petition that was made public this week had not come as a surprise.

But he conceded that if the club could not find a new owner - player sales may be inevitable.

"From our point of view we knew this news was coming because we knew about the tax bill," he said.

"We obviously didn't know when it was going to be made public. We have a date of 20 February for the hearing so the money will need to be paid before the 20th.

"There are a number of different ways that can happen. The first is the club comes to an agreement with someone and gets itself a new owner which is what we all want.

"If that is not the scenario then we will have to go down a different route. That different route would be the sale of players but I have to concentrate on preparing the team for Saturday's game.

"It's difficult enough to win games of football but harder to do it without your best players."

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